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''°l«K£„SlSf!H!,.,l!!I!SS,,.by. Alice Mors 


3 1924 029 921 586 

Cornell University 

The original of tfiis book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 

Costume of Colonial Times 




ENGLAND. 12mo, $1.25. 

LAND. 12mo, $1.25. 

75 Illustrations. Square 8vo, $3.00. 

i iri,/,|;Y 

Costume of 
Colonial Times 





1.1 .• r s;o.;) 

! / S f I 1 


Copyright, 1894, by 







Foreword, ix 

History of Colonial Dress, .... i 
Costume of Colonial Times, ... 43 


The material far the am^^UatioH cf this 
^assary has bem found m old letters. 
mUs, im>e«torm Restates, court records, 
and iu «^tmiitb<eiitttry new^i^ers, biut- 
dreds of wbki bam bem carrfuUy examitted 
and mtcd. 

Tboi^ tbe work would appear to bave 
bem tedious, it bos not so been found. 
Tbe oli letters and mils bavs tbe cbarm of 
quaint ortbograpby and diction, and also 
ihc purely personal interest arisii^ fmm 
tbe :^nss of tomb witb tbe writer tbeteof, 
wbicb always appeals so vividly to tbe im- 
agtMtuMu Tbe tmentories and court 
records bave been so filled witb curious 
terms and items tbat tbey bam fievcr 
seemed monotonous. 


The advertisements contained in old 
newspapers have had for me a special 
charm, the same indescribable and inex- 
plicable fascination that held Hawthorne 
an eager reader and made him spend hours 
poring over the dusty files. These adver- 
tisements afford an opportunity of insight 
into the manners of their times no less in- 
teresting than valuable, and in them con- 
temporary social life is largely written. 
Through the many glimpses thus given of 
curious old-time customs, and the full 
knowledge obtained of century -old fash- 
ions, the reading and transcription has 
never proved tiresome. I can fully echo 
Mr. Ashton's declaration that "by taking 
the very words of people then living, a 
charm has been lent to the task which fully 
compensated for the labor." 

Though the compilation of this glossary 
has been a pleasure, I can also say, with 
truth, in old Sir Thomas Browne's words, 
" I have studied not for my own sake only. 


but for theirs that study not for them- 
selves." I hope and believe this book will 
prove of value and of use to artists, to 
portrqyers of old colonial days — portray- 
ers not only in colors, but in words — and 
that it will help to prevent in the future 
any such anachronisms as now disfigure 
many of our stories and accounts of the 
dress of early times, not only through 
incorrect verbal description, but through 
equally imperfect and inaccurate illus- 

That the value of this work as a booh of 
reference may be complete, I have endeav- 
ored to give the price of materials and 
garments at various dates, especially in 
early colonial days ; also to show when 
certain attire came into fashion — when it 
became no longer the vogue. 

When I have written of garments or 
stuffs familiar to us at the present day, 
it was because there was something in their 
old-time form or use that varied from that 


of our own day ; or because some incident 
of interest was attached to tleir assump- 
tion. Sometimes it was simply to show 
how ancient in use they were. 

In the main, the fashions of the colonies 
were the fashions of old England ; when a 
garment or headgear came to he the mode 
in London, scarce a year elapsed ere 
Philadelphia, Boston, and "Newport gentry 
were also bedecked therewith. Still this 
rule had exceptions. When all French 
and English dames wore "commodes," I 
do not doubt that women of wealth in 
New York and Virginia thus dressed their 
heads, hut I have not been able to find a 
single proof of the fact, not even an in- 
stance of the use of the word on this side 
the Atlantic. 

I have found, however, that English au- 
thorities on costume have made many 
errors in dates ; for, of course, no modish 
garment would be advertised in a New 
England newspaper eight or ten years be- 


fore it was worn in London. I have 
therefore paid slight heed to modern Eng- 
lish and French writers on dress, but have 
preferred to cite my own examples of the 
use of words, and to shape my own defini- 
tions ; I note and define over one hundred 
terms not given by Planche, the authority 
on English costume. 

The references to New England sources 
of information may appear to predominate 
herein, but the records and accounts of 
the southern colonies have been searched 
with equal care. Owing, however, to the 
events of history, especially to the devas- 
tation of two wars, the documents and 
manuscripts, and even the newspapers of 
Virginia, Maryland, and the Carolinas 
have not been preserved to the same extent 
as have been those of the more northern 

To the valuable boohs of reference in the 
library of the Long Island Historical So- 
ciety, and to the priceless files of newspa- 


pers in that happy haven for antiquaries — 
the library of the American Antiquarian 
Society at Worcester, Mass- — / owe much 
of the information contained in these pages. 
To these societies I give my sincere thanks 
for their unbounded and cordial generos- 
ity and their unvarying courtesy. 


"Broohlj/n Heights, September, 1894. 

History of Colonial Dress 


THE most devoted follower of fashion 
in the present day gives no more heed 
to dress and the modes than did the 
early American colonist. This close atten- 
tion was paid by the settler to his own attire 
and that of his neighbors, not so much 
through his vanity or love of fashion and 
dress, as through his careful regard of social 
distinctions and his respect for the propri- 
eties of life. He believed that "dress had 
a moral effect upon the conduct of man- 
kind," and he studied to dress "orderly 
and well according to the fashion and the 
time. ' ' Dress was also to the colonists an 
important badge of rank; and for many 
years class distinctions were as carefully 
guarded and insisted upon in America as 
in England. Attempts were made through 
sumptuary laws in different colonies to 
definitely fix and restrict the dress of what 


Costume of Colonial Times 

were deemed the lower classes ; laws were 
passed similar to those which had been 
enforced in England by the English kings 
and queens, especially the dress-loving Eliza- 
beth. But these statutes proved a dire fail- 
ure in the new land, and universal freedom 
and much diversity of attire became a part 
of the universal liberty. 

Through the various records of colonial 
days which have been preserved to us, and 
through the interesting, though ofttimes 
crude portraits of our ancestors which still 
exist, it is possible to trace with considerable 
precision the variations in dress in the differ- 
ent settlements; to note how quickly in 
some localities the thrifty simplicity of the 
attire of the early planters was abandoned, 
and to picture the succession of modes. 

The earliest Virginia planters were many , 
of them Cavaliers and had no Puritanical , 
horror of fine dress ; hence small attempt was 
made at restriction of extravagance in attire 
in that colony. Wealth was great, and if 
the tobacco crop were large and factors 
prompt, doubtless the gowns and doublets 
which were sent from England were corre- 

History of Colonial Dress 

spondingly rich. Some mild sumptuary edicts ' 
were sent forth "to suppress excess in 
cloaths," such as the orders to Sir Francis 
Wyatt in 1621. He was enjoined "not to < 
permit any but the council and the heads' 
of hundreds to wear gold in their cloaths or 
to wear silk till they make it themselves." 
This order was probably intended not so 
much to discourage the wearing of silk as 
to encourage its manufacture (as silk culture 
was for many years a bee in the colonial 
bonnet), and the law must have been a dead 
letter. John Pory, Secretary of the Vir- 
ginia colony, wrote about that time to a 
friend in England, 

Our cowekeeper here of James citty on Sundays 
goes accoutred all in ffreshe fflaminge silke, and a 
wife of one that had in England professed the blacke 
arte not of a. SchoUer but of a Collier weares her 
rough bever hatt with a faire perle hatband, and a 
silken sute there to correspondent ; 

which, I must say, strikes me as somewhat 
grotesque and even comic, when I think of 
the Indian-surrounded wilderness wherein 
the " fflaminge silk " and fair pearl hatband 
were worn. 

Costume of Colonial Times 

In 1660 the Virginia colonists were or- 
dered to import "no silke stuffe in garments 
or in peeces (except for whoodsand scarfes), 
nor silver or gold lace, nor bone lace of 
silke or threads, nor ribbands wrought with 
gold or silver in them." I know of no 
prosecutions or confiscations under this law. '■ 

In Maryland, that state of freedom, both 
religious and social, no attempt was made to 
restrict the dress of the settlers ; and there >- 
is evidence that rich and varied wardrobes 
were brought over by the lords of the 
manors, those aristocratic emigrants, — more 
varied and costly dress probably than was 
that of any Puritans or Quakers. I have 
never seen in the records of any other col- 
ony proofs of such multifariousness of head 
and neck gear, such frivolities and fripperies 
as a Maryland gentleman left by will, with 
other attire, in 1642 : " Nine laced stripps, 
two plain stripps, nine quoifes, one call, eight 
crosse-cloths, a paire holland sleeves, a paire 
womens cuffs, nine plaine neck-cloths, five 
laced neck-cloths, two plaine gorgetts, seven 
laced gorgetts, three old clouts, five plaine 
neckhandkerchiefs, two plain shadowes. ' ' 

History of Colonial Dress 

In nearly all cases in Maryland and Vir- 
ginia, the prices of garments and of stuffs 
by the yard or piece are given in pounds of 
tobacco. Hence, through the variations in 
value of that staple, it is difficult now to 
assign exact values to articles named. Even 
tailors' bills are made out with tobacco as 
currency. One of the year 1643 reads ; 

To making a suit with buttons to it, . . 80 lb. 

I ell canvas, 30 " 

for dimothy linings, 30 " 

for buttons & silke, ... .... 50 " 

for points, ... 50 " 

for taffeta, 58 " 

for belly pieces, . . 40 " 

for hooks & eies, 10 " 

for ribbonin for pockets, 20 " 

for stilEnin for a collar, 10 " 

Sum, 378 lb. 

As urban life for the wealthy did not pre- 
vail in the eighteenth century in the southern 
colonies as in New England, New York, and 
Pennsylvania, but instead segregation on 
widely separated plantations, there was not 
through those years the same constant and 
general rivalry in dress that was seen in the- 

Costume of Colonial Times 

large northern towns. There was excep- 
tional elegance at gatherings at races and 
fairs and all folk-mootings, even at the i-^' 
courts-leet and courts-baron in Maryland. 
But at home the planters went in negligee t,^ 
costumes, banians and night caps, as William ^■ 
B)Td notes the ordinary dress in 1735. A 
writer in the London Magazine in 1745 also 
remarked this carelessness of dress of the 
Southern planters. He says : 

'Tis an odd sight, that except some of the very <- 
Elevated Sort few Persons wear Perukes, so that you <- 
would imagine they were all sick or going to bed ; >' 
Common People wear Woolen and Yarn Caps, but '' 
the better ones wear white Holland or Cotton. 
Thus they travel fifty miles from Home. It may be "^ 
cooler for ought I know, but methinks 'tis very 

Perhaps no quotation could show more 
thoroughly than the above the universal 
prevalence of wig-wearing at that date among ^ 
folk of any pretence toward being well ^ 
dressed. Not only gentlemen, but children, -, 
servants, negro slaves, soldiers, even convicts, ' 
wore false headgear. A shipload of dis- -' 
reputable, indentured servants, who were - 

History of Colonial Dress 

nearly all rogues and vagabonds, were, ere , 
being landed in America, supplied with 
second-hand wigs, in order to cut a compara- ^ 
tively respectable figure and obtain positions 
as schoolmasters — a calling which seemed to 
gather the worst dregs of 'the southern colo- 
nies, and which was almost always filled by 
redemptioners. So when the planters could 
ride in their own hair, and with any such 
ridiculous headgear as woollen or cotton caps, 
they were indeed hopelessly lost to any sense 
of propriety of carriage or dignity of apparel. 
The southern newspapers of the half cen- 
tury previous to the Revolution show few ad- 
vertisements of milliners and mercers ; no rich 
and varied assortment of dress fabrics such as 
fill the columns of New England and even of 
Pennsylvania and New York papers of those 
dates. I fear that southern dames knew few 
of the pleasures of shopping; they seldom 
tip-toed on clogs or pattens or rode in sedan 
chairs through narrow, crowded streets to 
mantua-makers' and haberdashers' shops, or 
on board great foreign-laden ships, or on the 
teeming wharfs alongside, and pulled over 
the lading of India gauzes and musHns and 


Costume of Colonial Times 

Italian silks and Dutch linens, as did favored 
northern housewives. They prosaically sent 
long lists to London merchants, who could be 
paid from the next crop of tobacco, and then 
waited patiently for return ships to bring to 
them year-old fashions. One London house 
had thirty Virginia planters, to whom it sent 
a yearly supply of apparel. In a few cities — 
Annapolis and Charleston — great elegance of i^ 
attire could be seen, but throughout the sur-'' 
rounding counties not nearly as universal,,^ 
modishness as obtained in northern villages - 
and towns. Even runaway servants were far,,, 
less showily and handsomely dressed; pos- 
sibly because there were proportionately far - 
more servants and slaves to be dressed. 

That many southern women dressed in a - 
graceful and elegant fashion we learn from '' 
existing portraits. That of Anne Francis, ^,. 
who married James Tilghman and became ■^' 
the mother of the Revolutionary soldier ^ 
Colonel Tench Tilghman, displays a lovely " 
countenance, with a dress of much beauty 
and simplicity. That of the unhappy Evelyn - 
Byrd, of Westover, Va., is equally graceful 
in dress and carriage. Williamine Wemyss, 

History of Colonial Dress 

wife of William Moore, of Moore Hall, Pa. , 
is attired in a more picturesque, almost in 
grotesque fashion, in sacque and coquettish 
feathered hat. The wife of Governor Spots- 
wood displays in her portrait a rich and 
charming garb. 

We know very well what a young Virginia 
miss of gentle birth needed as fashionable 
and proper attire in 1 737 — what articles were 
included in her wardrobe — through the or- 
der given by Col. John Lewis for his young 
ward. It reads thus : 

A cap, ruffle, and tucker, the lace 5 J. per yard. 

1 pair White Stays. 

8 pair White kid gloves. 

2 pair Colour'd kid gloves. 

2 pair worsted hose. 

3 pair thread hose. 

I pair silk shoes laced. 

1 pair morocco shoes. 

4 pair plain Spanish shoes. 

2 pair calf shoes. 
I Mask. 

I Fan. 

I Necklace. 

I Girdle and Buckle. 

I Piece fashionable Calico. 

4 yards Ribbon for knots. 

Costume of Colonial Times 

I Hoop Coat. 

1 Hat. 

1 1-2 Yard of Cambric. 

A Mantua and Coat of Slite Lustring. 

A decade later George Washington ordered 
from England for his little step-daughter — 
"Miss Custis" — a very full list of costly 
and modish garments : ^ 

8 pairs kid mitts. 
4 " gloves. 

2 " silk shoes. 

4 " Calamanco shoes. 

4 " leather pumps. 

6 " fine thread stockings. 

4 " " worsted " 

2 Caps. 

2 pairs Ruffles. 

2 tuckers, bibs, and aprons if Fashionable. 

2 Fans. 

2 Masks. 

2 bonnets. 

I Cloth Cloak. 

1 Stiffened Coat of Fashionable silk made to pack- 

thread stays. 
6 yards Ribbons. 

2 Necklaces. 

I Pair Silver Sleeve Buttons with Stones. 
6 Pocket Handkerchiefs. 

History of Colonial Dress 

A little girl four years of age, in kid mitts, 
a mask, a stiffened coat, with pack-thread 
stays, a tucker, ruffles, bib, apron, necklace, 
and fan, was indeed a typical example of the 
fashionable follies of the day. 

The step-son — Master Custis — was six 
years old and was fitted out with equal care : 

6 Pocket Handkerchiefs, small and fine. 

6 pairs Gloves. 

2 Laced Hats. 

2 Pieces India Nankeen. 

6 pairs fine Thread Stockings. 

4 " Coarse " " 

6 " Worsted 

4 ' ' strong shoes. 

4 " Pumps. 

I Summer suit of clothes to be made of something 

light and thin. 
I piece black Hair Ribbon. 
I pair handsome Silver shoe & knee buckles. 
I light duffel cloak with Silver Frogs. 

Asapendant to this list of children's clothes 
may be given the description of her own 
evening dress, recorded by a school-girl of 
twelve — Anna Green Winslow — in her diary 
in 1771 : 

I was dressed in my yellow coat, black bib and ' 
apron, black feathers on my head, my paste comb 


Costume of Colonial Times 

and all my paste, garnet, marquasett and jet pins, 
together with my silver plume — my locket, rings, 
black collar round my neck, black mitts and yards 
of blue ribbon (black and blue is high taste) striped 
tucker & ruffles (not my best) and my silk pom- 
pedore shoes completed my dress. 

Other school-girls dressed equally well. 
The little daughters of General Huntington, 
of Norwich, Conn., were sent at that same date 
from Norwich to Boston to be "finished" 
in Boston schools by Boston teachers. The 
outfit of one of these boarding-school misses 
comprised twelve silk gowns, but her chaper- 
on wrote that the young lady must have 
another gown of a " recently imported rich 
fabric," which was al; once procured in or- 
der that Miss Huntington's dress might cor- 
respond with her rank and station. 

It is easy to form a picture of the dress o^ 
the first New England colonists. The inven- 1/ 
tories of the apparel furnished in London to 
the male settlers of Salem, Mass., and of 
Piscataquay, N. H. , are still in existence and 
show to us, with minute exactness, the char- 
acter and quantity of the garments of these 
New England settlers. The supply to each 

History of Colonial Dress 

individual was liberal and of good quality, ' 
but the chief characteristic was durability. ^ 
Both the breeches and long hose were of. 
leather or of heavy woollens lined with 
leather. The Salem planters stepped on . 
shore in 1628 in either long hose or breeches. 
By 1635 the New Hampshire settlers had 
made a decided advancing step in fashion 
in this portion of the attire — the long hose 
were then quite out of date. The doublets . 
and jerkins of both companies of colonists = 
were of leather, the cassocks of cloth or 
canvas, usually fastened with hooks and eyes 
— buttons were a vanity. Strong and warm 
caps and hats were in abundance ; also heavy 
shoes and stockings. The leather and calf- 
skin garments were, of course, quiet in color, 
as were the mandillions or cloaks, but the 
caps were of scarlet, and the waistcoats were 
also scarlet or of green bound about with 
red; and in 1633 we find that Governor 
Winthrop had several dozen scarlet coats 
sent from England to the Bay. The con- 
signer wrote, ' ' I could not find any 
Bridgwater cloth but Red ; so all the coats 
sent are red lined with blew, and lace suit- 

Costume of Colonial Times 

able ; which red is the choise color of all. ' ' 
So all was not sad-colored and dun in the 
new land on the shores of the Bay or the 
banks of the Piscataquay. 

The good wives had^con-espondingly siin- 
ple, duraBIe^and plentiful attire, appropriate!/ 
for the laborious life they were forced to ' 
lead, and for the rigorous climate they 
encountered. But by 1650 the plenteous 
crops, growing industries, and free commer- 
cial exchange had, as Johnson noted at that 
date in his Wonder Working Providence, 
brought comfort and prosperity to Massa- 
chusetts — and there also had entered a de- 
sire for finer and costlier attire. The dura- 
ble and appropriate leather doublets and 
breeches were often replaced by garments of 
fine wool, and even frail damask and velvet 
were suggested. The good wives' gowns 
and cloaks were also shaped from far more 
costly and more beautiful fabrics. Alarmed 
and indignant at this veering toward cavalier 
ways, the watchful Connecticut and Massa- 
chusetts magistrates at once passed sumptu- 
ary laws to restrain and to attempt to pro- 
hibit this luxury and extravagance of dress. 

History of Colonial Dress 

An estate of at least ;^2oo was held neces- 
sary in order to allow any freedom of costly 
or gay attire. 

We can be sure that the stern Puritan law- 
makers did not base these prohibitory laws 
on single instances of flaunting finery ; so let 
us see what excess in apparel had become 
common enough in New England to warrant 
an alarmed attempt at extirpation. The 
Massachusetts magistrates prohibited the *-' 
wearing of gold, silver or thread lace ; all 
cut-works, embroideries, or needlework in 
the form of caps, bands or rails ; gold and 
silver girdles, hat-bands, belts, ruffs, or beaver - 
hats ; knots of ribbon ; broad shoulder -bands; ^- 
silk roses ; double ruffles or capes ; gold and " 
silver buttons ; silk points ; silk and tiffany 
hoods and scarfs. Truly a fine array of fol- "- 
lies. No wonder the thrifty souls were 
alarmed when they beheld such gay and ^■■ 
varied bedizenings and bedeckings. And 
the cut and fashioning of the settlers' gar- 
ments became extreme. Women displayed 
immoderate great sleeves and rails ; and 
men walked in immoderate great sleeves and 
boots and breeches ; bo'th wore slashed ap- 

Costume of Colonial Times 

parel and long wings — a specially offensive 

Vain offenders against these sumptuary- 
laws were presented by scores, and were 
tried and fined ; and the selectmen of vari- 
ous towns were arraigned for not prosecut- 
ing the culprits. And the ministers preached 
at them, and had tracts printed to warn and 
deter them ; but still the haughty daughters 
and proud sons "psisted in fflonting" until 
both preachers and magistrates gave up the 
unequal struggle in despair, and yielded 
gloomily with dire memories of Sodom and 
Gomorrah, and premonitions of similar and 
speedy annihilation. 

The rich wardrobe of Colonel Thomas 
Richbell, who died in Boston in 1682, must 
have sorely vexed the stern magistrates, and 
he must have appeared to them a gay flam- 
boyant peacock in sober Boston streets. His 
clothing was inventoried thus, and the inven- 
tory is now in the Suffolk Probate Court. 

£. s. d. 
I Sattin coate w* Gold Flowers & blew 

breeches, .400 


History of Colonial Dress 


I Scarlet coate & breeches w* Silver ] 


I P' w""' Damask breeches, . . . 

I Stuffe Suite with Gold Buttons, . . 2 lo 

I Silk Crape Suite, I 

1 Stuffe Suite with Silke Buttons, . . i 
I Black Cloth Suite, ... i 

I Stuffe Suite with Lace, ... . i 

1 haire Chamlett coate w"" Froggs, . 2 
7 p' white thread hose, 20s. 7 white 

wastcoats, 3 4 

4 p' Silke, I p' Scarlet worsted hose, 2 

12 shirts L8 3 p' Holland drawers 12s., 8 12 
II handkerchers, i8s. 3 caps, 3s., ..11 

7 Cravats & 7 p' Ruffels & Ribbands, 7 

3 halts & bands, 2 10 

2 Rapiers w"" Silver hilts & a belt, . 12 

I Cane w* Silver Head, 10 

3 small Periwiggs, 3 

I Diamond Ring & Mourning Ring, . 3 

I p' Bootes, 20 

But many simple folk, throughout the sev- 
enteenth century, continued to dress plain- 
ly, and offered by their frugality and absti- 
nence a foundation on which for a while these 
sumptuary statutes could be based. Leather 
breeches, especially, continued to be worn 
by thrifty townsmen and farm-folk as well 


Costume of Colonial Times 

as hunters, as long as breeches were worn at 
all. " Leather breeches-makers " advertise 
in American newspapers till this century. 

Women's attire when simple in material 
was often varied in shape. Jane Humphrey 
of Dorchester, Mass., a woman of no wealth, 
died in 1668. She owned a red kersey, a 
blemmish serge, a red serge, a black serge, 
and a green linsey woolsey petticoat — five 
petticoatTin all ; a sad grey kersey, a white 
fustian, a green serge, a blue, and a murry 
waistcoat — five waistcoats to correspond ; 
two jumps ; a blue short coat ; a green 
under coat ; a staning kersey coat ; a fringed 
whittle ; a cloak ; black silk, calico and hol- 
land neckcloths ; white, blue, holland, and 
green aprons ; quoifes and queues and hoods 
and muffs ; a wardrobe which was certainly 
sufficient in quantity and which also offered 

No better expounder could be found of 
the style of dress and expense of dress-mak- 
ing and tailoring of a well-to-do New Eng- 
land family in those da)'S, than this tailor's 
bill of William Sweatland for work done for 
Jonathan Corwin of Salem. The nianu- 

History of Colonial Dress 

script of the bill is in the library of the 
American Antiquarian Society : 

£. .: d. 
Sept. 2g, 1679. To plaiting a gown for 

M^^- 36 

To makeing a Childs Coat, .... 6 
To makeing a Scarlett petticoat with Sil- 
ver Lace for M'^- 9 

For .new makeing a plush somar for M"- 6 

Dec. 22, 1679. For making a somar for 

your Maide, 10 

Mar. 10, 1679. To a yard of Callico, 2 

To I Douzen and \ of silver buttons, . i 6 

To Thread 4 

To makeing a broad cloth hatte, ... 14 

To making a haire Camcottcoat, . . 9 

To making new halfsleeves to a silk 

Coascett, i 

March 25. To altering and fitting a paire 

of Stays for M'=- I 

Ap. 2, 1680, to makeing a Gowne for ye 

Maide, 10 

May 20. For removeing buttons of y' 

coat, 6 

Juli 25, 1630. For makeing two Halts 

and Jacketts for your two sonnes, . 19 

Aug. 14. To makeing a white Scarson- 

nett plaited Gowne for M'=- . . 8 

To makeing a black broad cloth Coat for 

yourselfe, 9 


Costume of Colonial Times 

£. s. d. 

Sep. 3, 1868. To making a Silke Laced 

Gowne for W^- i 8 

Oct. 7, 1680, to makeing a Young'Childs 

Coate, 4 

To faceing your Owne Coat Sleeves, . i 

To new plaiting a petty Coat for M"- . i 6 

Nov. 7. To makeing a black broad 

Cloth Gowne for M'=- 18 

Feb. 26, 1680-1. To Searing a Petty 

Coat for M"- 6 

Sum is, £'&. 4^. \od. 

The dress of the settlers on the Connecti- 
cut Valley differed little from that of the 
Puritans on the coast. Richard Sawyer died 
in 1648 in Windsor, Connecticut; his wear- 
ing apparel was thus inventoried : 

£.. s. d. 
I musck - colour'd cloth doublitt & 

breeches, i 

I bucks leather doublitt, . . . . 12 

I calves leather doublitt, 6 

I liver-colour'd doublitt & jacket & 

breeches, 7 

I haire-colour'd doublitt & jackett & 

breeches, 5 

I paire canvas drawers, 16 

I olde coate. i paire old gray breeches, 5 

History of Colonial Dress 

£. '. d. 

I stuff jackett, 26 

I paire greene knit mens hose, ... 2 

I paire old knit cotten hose, ... 16 

I old coloured hatt, 3 

I new coloured hatt, 7 

10 Bands, 15 

3 shirts, 12 

I paire old boots 5 

I paire old shoes . . 2 

I paire cloth buskins 7 

Goodman Sawyer had a more varied ex- 
ternal covering than the Salem settlers, but 
his undergarments were not equal either in 
quantity or quality. 

The outfit of the Maine colonists was sim- 
ilar, but contained more garments for the 
use of sailors and fishermen — haling-hands, 
trushes, slyders, barvells, batts, and broags — 
as became a fishing community. 

At last there arose in New England a 
truly vain people. From every source open 
to the antiquary proof can be obtained that, 
with the early years of the new century, 
sobriety and economy of dress were lost to 
the children of the Puritans and Pilgrims. 
The " pestilent heretics " of Rhode Island, 


Costume of Colonial Times 

the Quakers, Baptists, and Gortonians, were 
troubled with no sumptuary legislation, nor 
were they wealthy enough to be very extrav- 
agant ; but soon the opulent Narragansett 
planters could boast a richness of attire that 
rivalled that of town-folk. In Boston the 
influence of the Royal Governor and his 
staff established a miniature court which 
closely aped English dress and manners, and 
rivalled English luxury. An English trav- 
eller, Bennett, wrote of Boston in 1740, 
"Both the ladies and gentlemen dress and 
appear as gay in common as courtiers in 
England on a coronation or birthday." 
Whitefield complained bitterly of the ' ' fool- 
ish virgins of New England covered all over 
with the pride of life;" of the jewels, 
patches, and gay apparel commonly worn. 
Other travellers made similar observations 
on the bravery of the modes ; and from the 
account-books and letter-books of merchants, 
the lists of the wardrobes of deceased per- 
sons, the printed advertisements of milliners 
and mercers, we obtain proof of great luxury 
and richness of dress, which lasted through- 
out the century. The attire of the signers 

History of Colonial Dress 

of the Declaration of Inde^endeBce showed 
no Republican simplicity. 

With ^Lthis love of dress and the lavish 
expenditure for rich attire, there came no 
wastefulness. The papers abound in adver- 
tisements of dyers who will new calender 
and dye old gowns and cloaks and refinish 
old stuffs and silks. We find even so fine a 
lady as Peter Faneuil's sister, Mary Ann, 
sending her gowns to London to be dyed 
and returned to her ; and her old gloves and 
shoe-roses and shoe-strings to be sold. And 
clothing was carefully bequeathed by will ; 
sometimes a garment served through three 

We have a most interesting and valuable 
contribution to our knowledge of colonial 
dress in New York, in the list of the ward- 
robe of the widow of Dr. Jacob De Lange, 
of New York, in 1682. It consisted of 
twelve costly petticoats, six samares, and 
other articles in smaller number. It was far 
richer than any list I have ever seen of the 
possessions of New England goodwives. 
The jewels are exceptionally rich ; I doubt 
if any woman in New England had such at 


Costume of Colonial Times 

that time. The silver girdle-chain and em- 
broidered purse were Dutch, not Enghsh 
fashions. The list reads thus : 

£. s. d. 
One under petticoat with a body of red 

bay, 17 

One under petticoat, scarlet, 115 

One petticoat, red cloth with black lace, . 2 15 
One striped stuff petticoat with black 

lace, 1-8 

Two colored drugget petticoats with gray 

linings, 12 

Two colored drugget petticoats with white 

linings, 18 

One colored drugget petticoat with pointed 

lace, 8 

One black silk petticoat with ash gray silk 

lining, I 10 

One potto-foo silk petticoat with black silk 

lining, 2 15 

One potto-foo silk petticoat with taffeta 

lining ... i 13 

One silk potoso- i-samare with lace, . . 3 
One tartanel samare with tucker, ... i 10 
One black silk crape samare with tucker, . i 10 

Three flowered calico samares 2 17 

Three calico nightgowns, one flowered, 

two red 7 

One silk waistcoat, one calico waistcoat, . 14 

One pair of bodice, 4 

Five pair white cotton stockings, ... 9 


History of Colonial Dress 

£. s. d. 

Three black love-hoods, 5 

One white love-hood, 26 

Two pair sleeves with great lace, ...13 

Four cornet caps with lace, 3 

One black silk rain cloth cap, .... 10 
One black plush mask, ... . . 16 

Four yellow lace drowlas, 2 

One embroidered purse with silver bugle 

and chain to the girdle and silver 

hook and eye, 14 

One pair black pendants, gold nocks, . . 10 
One gold boat, wherein thirteen diamonds 

& one white coral chain, 16 

One pair gold stucks or pendants each 

with ten diamonds, 25 

Two diamond rings, .... .24 

One gold ring with clasp beck, .... I2 
One gold ring or hoop bound round with 

diamonds, 2 10 

Dr. De Lange's wardrobe was abundant, 
but not so rich : 

;^. :r. d. 

I Grosgrained cloak lined with silk, . . 2 10 

I Black broadcloth coat, i 10 

I Black broadcloth suit i 15 

1 Coat lined with red serge i 15 

2 Old coats, I 10 

I Black grosgrained suit, i 14 

I Coloured cloth waistcoat with silver but- 
tons, 14 


Costume of Colonial Times 

1 Coloured serge suit with silver buttons, 
3 silk drawers, .... . . .- 

2 Calico drawers, 

3 White drawers, 

I pair yellow hand gloves with black silk 

5 pair white Calico Stockings, . 

I pair Black worsted Stockings, . . . 

I pair gray worsted Stockings, . 

I fine black hat, i old gray hat, I black 



s. d. 





As no breeches are named in this inventory, 
and such a goodly number of coats, I think 
the eight pairs of drawers were summer 

When Cornelius Stienwerck, a wealthy 
man, Mayor of New York, died at about 
that same date, he left in one room — his 
"great chamber" — twelve coats, eight pair 
breeches, three cloaks and two doublets. 

The outfit of the wife of a respectable and 
well-to-do Dutch settler in New Netherlands 
differed somewhat from that of Madame De' 
Lange. Vrouentje Ides Stoffelsen left be- 
hind her in 1641 a gold hoop ring, a silver 
medal and chain and a silver undergirdle to 

History of Colonial Dress 

hang keys on ; a damask furred jacket, two 
black camlet jackets, two doublets — one iron 
gray, the other black; a blue, a steel-gray 
lined petticoat, and a black coarse camlet- 
lined petticoat ; two black skirts, a new 
bodice, two white waistcoats, one of Harlem 
stuff ; a little black vest with two sleeves, a 
pair of damask sleeves, a reddish morning 
gown, not lined ; four pair pattens, one of 
Spanish leather ; a purple apron and four blue 
aprons ; nineteen cambric caps and four linen 
ones ; a fur cap trimmed with beaver ; nine 
linen handkerchieS trimmed with lace, two 
pair of old stockings, and three shifts. One 
disposed to be critical might note the some- 
what scanty proportion of underclothing in 
this wardrobe, and as Ides' s husband swore 
" by his manly troth " that the list of her 
possessions was a true and complete one, we 
are forced to believe that it was indeed all 
the underclothing she possessed. 

In the following century, many New York 
women had rich jewels. Mary Duyckinck 
Sinclair in 1736 bequeathed by will: 

One gold chaane of five strirLg5^_ One nechrse"of " 
Large Perels.- -Oife Large Diamond ring. One gold 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Watch. One Picter set in gold. One paer of gold 
Ear Rings with Learge Perels set in them. One 
necklase of perels of five strings and gold Lockit. 
One gold ring with a red stone. One gold Cross 
laaid in with Pressious stones. One gold Girdel 
Buckell. One gold hair Neadell. 

By Revolutionary times love of dress every- 
where prevailed throughout the State of New 
York — a love of dress which caused great ex- 
travagance and was noted by all travellers. 

The Chevalier de Crevecceur gave his testi- 
mony to the extravagance of New York fair 
ones, saying, " If there is a town on the 
American continent where English luxury 
displayed its follies it is in New York. . . . 
In the dress of the women you will see the 
most brilliant silks, gauzes, hats and borrowed 
hair. ' ' Miss Rebecca Franks, a Philadelphia 
belle, wrote in 1778 of society in New York : 

You can have no idea of the life of continued 
amusement I live in ; I can scarce have a moment to 
myself. I have stole this while everybody is retired 
to dress for dinner. I am but just come from under 
Mr. J. Black's hands, and most elegantly dressed am 
I for a ball this evening at Smith's, where we have 
one every Thursday. I wish to Heaven you were 
going with us this evening to judge for yourself. . . . 



History of Colonial Dress 

The Dress is more ridiculous and pretty than any- 
thing I ever saw — great quantity of different colored 
feathers on the head at a time besides a thousand 
other things. The Hair dress'd very high, in the 
shape Miss Vining's was the night we return'd 
from Smith's — the Hat we found in your Mothers 
closet wou'd be of a proper size. I have an afternoon 
cap with one wing, tho' I assure you I go less in 
the fashion than most of the Ladies — no being dress'd 
without a hoop. . . . No loss for partners. Even 
I am engaged to seven different gentlemen, for you 
must know 'tis a fixed rule never to dance but two 
dances at a time with the same person. Oh, how I 
wish Mr. P. wou'd let you come in for a week or two 
— tell him I'll answer for your being let to return. I 
know you are as fond of a gay life as myself — you'd 
have an opportunity of rakeing as much as you 
choose at either Plays, Balls, Concerts or Assem- 

A Hessian officer wrote with equal deci- 
sion of the extravagance of fair country- 
maids, throughout the State : 

They are great admirers of cleanliness and keep 
themselves well shod. They friz their hair every 
day and gather it up on the back of the head into a 
chignon at the same time puffing it up in front. 
They generally walk about with their heads un- 
covered and sometimes but not often wear some light 
fabric on their hair. Now and then some country 


Costume of Colonial Times 

nymph has her hair flowing down behind her, braid- 
ing it with a piece of ribbon. Should they go out 
even though they be living in a hut, they throw a 
silk wrap about themselves and put on gloves. 
They also put on some well made and stylish little 
sunbonnet, from beneath which their roguish eyes 
have a most fascinating way of meeting yours. In 
the English colonies the beauties have fallen in love 
with red' silk or woolen wraps. The wives and 
daughters spend more than their incomes allow. 
The man must fish up the last penny he has in his 
pocket. The funniest part of it is the women do 
not seem to steal it from them, neither do they ob- 
tain it by cajoling, fighting, or falling in a faint. 
How they obtain it is a mystery, but that the. men 
are heavily taxed for their extravagance is certain. 
The daughters keep up their stylish dressing because 
their mothers desire it. Nearly all articles neces- 
sary for the adornment of the female sex are very 
scarce and dear. For this reason they are wearing 
their Sunday finery. Should this begin to show signs 
of wear I am afraid that the husbands and fathers 
will be compelled to make peace with the Crown if 
they would keep their women folk supplied with 

The Quakers, through custom and de- 
nominational law, were pledged to simple, 
sober, and uniform dress; yet even they felt 
the love of dress, which was so strongly 
crescent everywhere throughout the colonies 

History of Colonial Dress 

in the early part of the eighteenth century. 
In 1726 the " woman ffriends " at the Yearly 
Meeting at Burlington, felt constrained te 
send, through their spokeswoman, Hannah 
Hill, a formal deprecatory message to their 
fellow women-Quakers. It ran thus : 

As first, that Immodest fashion of hooped petti- 
coats or the imitation either by something put into 
their petticoats to make them set full, or any other 
imitation whatever, which we take to be but a branch 
springing from the same corrupt root of pride. And 
also that none of our ffriends accustom themselves to 
wear the gowns with superfluous folds behind, but 
plain and decent, nor go without aprons, nor to wear 
superfluous gathers or plaits in their caps or pinners, 
nor to wear their heads drest high behind ; neither 
to cut or lay their hair on their foreheads or temples. 

And that ffriends be careful to avoid wearing 
striped shoes or red and white heeled shoes or clogs 
or shoes trimmed with gaudy colors. 

And also that no ffriends use that irreverent 
practice of taking snuff or handing a snuff box one 
to the other in meeting. 

Also that ffriends avoid the unnecessary use of 
fans in meetings lest it direct the mind from the 
more inward and spiritual exercises which all ought 
to be concerned in. 

And also that ffriends do not accustom themselves 
to go with bare breasts or bare necks. 


Costume of Colonial Times 

By Benjamin Franklin's day Philadel- 
phians were as fond of dress as were other 
Americans. Even that rigid and thrifty 
economist sent home from France, to his 
Deborah and his daughter, silk negligees, 
white cloaks and plumes, satin cardinals, 
and paste shoe-buckles, that they might not 
"dress with singularity." By Revolution- 
ary days Philadelphia outdid other towns in 
folly, and surpassed them in lavishness ; com- 
ing to a climax of astonishing frivolity and 
extravagance in that extraordinary and pict- 
uresque revel, the Meschianza — a pageant 
more resembling a royal masque than an 
assembly in a staid Quaker town. General 
Greene declared the luxury of Boston "an 
infant babe ' ' to that of Philadelphia. An- 
other officer wrote to General Wayne. " The 
town is all gayety, and every lady and gentle- 
man endeavors to outdo the other in splendor 
and show;" and we read in Washington's 
diary, in Adams's, of the luxury and display 
in Philadelphia. 

It is curious to note that the succession of 
events in European and American history 
can be traced through the commemorative 


History of Colonial Dress 

names given to garments worn in colonial 
days. Ramillies and Campaign wigs, Que- 
bec cloaks, Garrick hats, Brunswick cloaks, 
Kitty Fisher bonnets, all show the marks of 
passing events or historic or notorious person- 
ages. At a later date, when French ideas so 
largely dominated in America, French names 
and references constantly appear; a notable 
example being the various applications of the 
words air-balloon and parachute at the be- 
ginning of the aeronautic craze. The open- 
ing of the East India trade brought to 
America many Chinese and Indian stuffs, 
the names of which are now nearly all obso- 
lete. I have given in my book, Customs 
and Fashions in Old New England, over 
one hundred names of oriental stuffs, whose 
exact definition cannot now be indicated, 
and which were of silk, cotton, linen, or 
cotton and silk, and were usually gauzes, 
cottons, or muslins for summer wear, which 
took their name from the Indian town or 
community where they were manufactured. 

I have also noted in the same book the 
curious fact that, from the letters and diaries 
of early days, we gain a notion not so much 


Costume of Colonial Times 

of the vanity of our grandmothers as of our 
grandfathers. Comparatively few letters 
written by colonial women have been pre- 
served ; indeed, the women of those days 
were not great letter-writers, and their rare 
letters seldom refer to dress. But the letters 
of their husbands and brothers speak with 
no uncertain voice of the pains these good, 
sober, pious gentlemen took with their gar- 
ments — their satisfaction in becoming cloth- 
ing ; their intense discontent over ill-fitting 
or ill-colored attire. They are as eager for 
' ' patterns ' ' and modes as any country girl 
on her first visit to town. Here is a portion 
of a letter written to New London in June, 
1706, by John Winthrop, a young Boston - 
spark, to a fellow -dandy, his uncle Fitz-John 
Winthrop, a sedately foppish old gentleman 
of nearly seventy summers : 

Since my last I have picked up at severall shopps 
in towne a parcell of patternes which are inclosed. 
There is no choise of anythingf. Everything very 
ordinary and extravigantly dear. It was an acci- 
dental! thing I litt upon y' camblett which was 
very good and very cheap as times goe. As soon 
as ever I see it at Banisters shopp I thought it 
was ye genteelest thing I had seen anywhere. 


History of Colonial Dress 

Yo' Honours Cote, my Cote, Gov' Dudleys cote 
and his sonns cote took up y' whole piece. There 
is no cloths y' are fitt for a jackett and britches 
for yo' Honour & if there were they would be 
too hott for summer ; and no silks but a parcell of 
slimsey gaudy things that yo' Honour would not 
like. It is a great fashion here to wear West India 
linnens. I have enclos'd some of ye best patternes. 
They make pretty light cool wastcotes and britches. 
Everybody of any fashion wears them in summer. 

Scores of refer&nce to dress abound in the 
letters of Wait Winthrop, that solid man of 
Boston, and of his brother Fitz-John. Very 
rarely women's attire is ordered, and with 
but scant explanation, simply a gown or a 
petticoat ; but for their own masculine gar- 
ments such sentences as these were exchanged 
by the brothers : 

I desire you to bring me a very good camlet 
cloake lyned with what you like except blew. It 
may be purple or red or striped with those or other 
colors if so worn suitable and fashionable. ... I 
would make a hard shift rather than not have the 

I have sent youre sute by Major Palmer. The 
stufe was ye most fashionable y' could be got. 
Y' which is most in weare is a drugett but here 
is not a piece in town. 


Costume of Colonial Times 

I have endeavour'd to sute you with what you 
wrote for ; the Icoate is of the best drab de bury in 
towne. The serge as fine as I could get. 

Indeed, John Winthrop ordered so many 
suits in Boston that I did not wonder at his 
brother-in-law's suggestion that he wear out 
those he already had ere he bought others. 
Even petty articles, such as hats and shoes, 
received from him vast attention, and he 
condescended much to buttons and made 
careful drawings and descriptions of modish 
buttonholes which he desired. A certain 
buckled buff belt caused so much exchange 
of correspondence that it was truly a Girdle 
of Opakka, a symbol of prudence, thrift, and 

Rough old Governor Belcher was equally 
fond of dress. In 1740 he wrote thus to his 
son : 

In this bundle is a leathern wastcoat & breeches 
which get lac'd with gold in the handsomest manner; 
not open or bone lace but close lace something open 
near the head of the lace. Let it be substantial 
strong lace. The buttons to be metal buttons with 
eyes of the same, not buttons with wooden molds & 
catgut loops which are good for nothing. They 


History of Colonial Dress 

must be gilt with gold & wrought in imitations of 
buttons made with thread or wire. You must also 
send me a fine cloth jockey coat of same colour with 
the wastcoat and breeches, and Uned with a fine 
shalloon of same colour, & trim'd plain, onely a but- 
ton with same sort as that of the wastcoat but pro- 
portionably bigger. The coat may be made to fit 
me by the wastcoat. I must also have two pair of 
fine worsted hose to match this suit, and a very good 
hatt laced or not as may be the fashion, and a sett of 
silver buckles for shoes & knees & another sett of 
pinchbeck. . . I desire to buy me as much 

three pile black velvet such as is made for mens wear 
and the best can be had for money, as much as will 
make me a compleat suit, the buttons and holes to be 
of the same with the cloaths, and the lining of the 
best double shagrine of a dark gold colour, if that not 
to be had some other good lining silk of that colour. 
I herewith deliver you my measure that the cloaths 
may be made to, and rather too big than too little. 
I desire you also to buy me a nightgown of the best 
Genoa damask that is made for mens wear. Let the 
gown be every way large enough for you and it will 
fitt me. Let the colour of the outside and lining be 
a deep crimson. And I would have to spare a yard 
of the velvet & two of the damask. 

Though he characterized himself as "a 
poor Governor living from hand to mouth," 
these letters of Belcher's indicate no poverty, 
and his portrait displays a rich embroidered 


Costume of Colonial Times 

coat and waistcoat with fine laces and elab- 
orate frogs and buttons. 

From the days of his early manhood 
George Washington showed a truly proper — 
indeed, I may say a truly masculine love of 
dress. We find him in 1747, when a lad of 
fifteen, making this careful note for a tailor : 

Memorandum. To have my coat made by the 
following Directions, to be made a Frock with a 
Lapel Breast. The Lapel to contain on each side 
six Button Holes & to be about 5 or 6 inches wide all 
the way equal, & to turn as the Breast on the Coat 
does, to have it made very long Waisted and in 
Length to come down to or below the bent of the 
knee, the Waist from the Armpit to the Fold to be 
exactly as long or Longer than from thence to the 
Bottom, not to have more than one fold in the Skirt 
and the top to be made just to turn in and three But- 
ton Holes, the Lapel at the top to turn as the Cape 
of the Coat and Button to come parallel with the But- 
ton Holes and the Last Button Hole on the Breast 
to be right opposite the Button on the Hip. 

After his marriage to a rich widow, Wash- 
ington showed equal interest in the dress of 
his increased family. In one order in 1759, 
he sent for these articles of wearing apparel for 
himself and his wife ; and as he said, " partic- 

History of Colonial Dress 

ularized the sorts, qualities, and taste, all to be 
good and fashionable of their several kinds." 

A Light Summer Suit made of Duroy by the measure. 
4 pieces Best India Nankeen. 
2 best plain beaver Hats at 2is. 
I piece Black Satin Ribbon. 

1 Sword belt red morocco or buff, no buckles or rings. 
A Salmon Coloured Tabby of the Enclosed Pattern 

to be made in a sack & coat. 
A Cap, Handkerchief, Tucker, & Ruffles to be made 
of Brussels Lace or point proper to be worn with 
the above negligee, to cost pif 20. 

2 Fine Flowered Aprons. 

I pair womans white silk hose. 

6 " " fine cotton " 

4 " " " thread " 

I pair black satin, 1 pair white satin shoes of small- 
est 55. 

4 " calamanco shoes. 

I Fashionable hat or bonnet. 

6 pairs Womens best Kid Gloves. 

8 " " " " Mitts. 

1-2 Dozen Knots & Breastknots. 

I " Round Silk Laces. 

I Black Mask. 

I Dozen most Fashionable Cambric Pockethandker- 

Washington throughout his life never let 
affairs of state or war crowd out his love of 

Costume of Colonial Times 

fitting and rich attire ; and in every order 
to England, the instructions to secure the 
latest modes, the reigning fashion, were 
strenuously dwelt upon. Other Revolution- 
ary heroes were equally vain, and vied with 
judges, doctors, and merchants, in rich and 
carefully studied attire ; but Washington 

The expectancy and rose of the fair state, 
The glass of fashion, and the mould of form, 
The observed of all observers. 


Costume of Colonial Times 




^ Alamode. a plain soft glossy silk much 
like lustring or our modern surah silk, but 
more loosely woven. It was originally made 
on the Continent, and is said to have been 
first made in England in 1693 in the reign 
of William and Mary. I find from Judge 
Sewall's letter-book, published by the Massa- 
chusetts Historical Society, that he ordered 
it, with other dress fabrics, from England as 
early as 1687. In 1697 John Lane, of Wo- 
burn, Mass., left "20 els of alamod " by 
will. The name appears constantly until after 
Revolutionary times, certainly until 1785, 
in New England and Southern newspapers, 
in milliners', mercers', and other shopkeep- 
ers' lists, under the various and ingenious 
spelling^ with which our forbears managed 
to vary their orthography — elamond, ali- 
mod, olamod, alemod, arlimod, allamode, 
and ellimod — ^and must have been widely 

Costume of Colonial Times 

used. In the Boston News Letter of Sep- 
tember 15, 17 15, is an early advertisement 
which reads, " Allamods French and Eng- 
lish." I also find allamode fringes adver- 
tised in the Boston Evening Post of June, 
1756. It was largely employed for man- 
tuas and hoods and for linings for rich gar- 

L^ Allapine. This woollen stuff, also 
spelled ellapine, allpine, alpine, was fre- 
quently mentioned in public and private in- 
ventories of the first half of the eighteenth 
century. It must have been strong and 
good, for it was not cheap. It was ap- 
parently used exclusively for men's wear. 
Captain William Templer's best suit of 
garments was a " double Allpine coat and 
breeches" and was worth ;^2 5. In 
1 741 William Bennet's "Speckled Jacket 
and Breeches " of allapine were worth ^^9 
Allapine was advertised in the Boston 
News Letter in 1739 and 1742, but I 
have not found it named in newspapers 
of later dates. 


Costume of Colonial Times 

It Apron. 

These aprons white of finest thrid. 

So choicely tide, so dearly bought, 
So finely fringed, so nicely spred. 
So quaintlie cut, so richlie wrought. 

— Pleasant Quippes for Neio-Fangled 
Upstart Gentlewomen. iSq6, 

I doubt not many an apron came over in 
the Mayflower. Wood in liis New Eng- 
land's Prospects, 1634, speaks of ordering 
" Green Sayes for aprons." Early inven- 
tories of the effects of emigrant dames con- 
tain many an item of those housewifely 
garments : Jane Humphreys, of Dorchester, 
Mass., had in her good wardrobe, in 1668, 
" 2 Blew aprons, A White Holland Apron 
with a Small Lace at the bottom. A White 
Holland Apron with two breathes in it. 
My best white apron. My greene apron." 
After the death of Madam Usher, who had 
been the widow of President Leonard Hoar 
of Harvard College, and who had a rich 
wardrobe, much of her clothing was sent to 
her daughter, in 1725; among the items 
enumerated were, " 9 aprons, five of them 
short." By this time aprons had become 
an indisputable, almost' an essential part of 


Costume of Colonial Times 

a fine lady's attire. Queen Anne wore 
them, and of course all fashionable and 
loyal women in England did likewise and in 
New England also. As soon as advertise- 
ments of dress goods and articles of dress 
appeared in New England newspapers, such 
notices as this were found — of the New 
England Weekly Journal of 1739, "Beauti- 
ful Gold and Silver Brocade Aprons ; " of 
1740, "Short Aprons wrought with Gold," 
"Minuet Aprons;" or this of Sally Trip- 
pers of Draw Lane, Hartford, in 1766, 
" Female Aprons for ladies from eighteen to 
fifty." Striped gauze and " drest picket " 
and lawn-embroidered aprons appear, show- 
ing that they were purely an ornamental, 
not a useful adjunct to the toilet. Lessons 
were given and patterns sold for embroid- 
ering aprons, in Dresden work, cross-stitch, 
and darned work. Sample aprons were 
sent from England and eagerly copied by 
deft-fingered New England dames. Until 
well into this century aprons were worn 
— indeed until our own day, when the 
pretty feminine fancy has been too much 
given over to servant maids. 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Arlimod. See Alamode. 

fY Armozine. Also Armoisine and Arma- 
ziNE. A strong corded silk used from the 
time of Elizabeth to that of George III. In 
Hakluyf s Voyages '^e: read of " armesine of 
Portugall." I presume the " Black Ermo- 
zeen ' ' advertised in the Massachusetts Ga- 
zette of September 26, 1771, was armozine. 
I have also found it in inventories spelled 
armazine. It was used for gowns for 
women and waistcoats for men. 

Artois. a long cloak made with several 
capes and worn by women about 1790. It 
had lapels and revers like a box-coat. 

Baize. This was quite as frequently spelt 
bayes. It was a coarse woollen cloth made 
at Norwich and Colchester in the time of 
Elizabeth, and called Colchester baize as 
late certainly as 1775, for in the Cotmecticut 
Courant of December 11 of that year, 
" common blue and white Colchester baize " 
was advertised for sale, and "white bayes" 
also. In Peter Faneuil's time — 1737 — it 
was worth five shillings a yard. We often 

Costume of Colonial Times 

find it composing portions of the dress of 
runaway servants, especially the petticoats 
and jackets of negro slaves. 

Band. A stiff collar of linen or cambric 
worn by nearly all Puritans. We read in 
the Character of a Roundhead, 1 640 : 

What creature's this with his short hairs, 
His little band, and huge long ears, 
That this new faith hath founded ? 

Four plain and three falling bands were sup- 
plied to each settler of Massachusetts Bay. 
The various shapes may be seen in the por- 
traits of the times. They were usually 
severely simple — indeed, embroidered and 
broad bands were forbidden by sumptuary 
laws in New England. They were some- 
times fastened by narrow ferret or by band- 
strings, cords, and tassels, as in the portrait 
of Governor Winslow (1645), and of Gover- 
nor Endicott (1655). Geneva bands were 
worn by the ministers. Women wore laced 
bands. Lawyer Lechford in his note-book 
gave the cost of eighteen bands as thirty-six 
shillings, in 1639. The judges of the Su- 

Costume of Colonial Times 

preme Court wore bands when on the bench 
till this century. See Falling-Band. 

Bandilier. a case of wood or metal 
covered with leather and strung with cord 
on a belt. The cover was made to slip up 
and down on the cord that it might not be 
lost. It contained charges of powder, and 
thus formed part of a soldier's outfit. The 
band holding these bandiliers was frequently 
of strong neat's leather, and was sometimes 
worn over one shoulder and hung down 
under the opposite arm. In certain accounts 
of the times the word bandileer appears to be 
applied collectively to the band with its sus- 
pended cases, instead of to the case alone. 

Banyan. " A morning gown such as is 
worn by the Banians." In 1735 the New 
England Weekly Journal contained an ad- 
vertisement of " Starretts for Gowns and 
Banyans," and in 1739 "Scarlet Cloth for 
Banyans ; " in the preceding year the 
Weekly Rehearsal had one of " Banjans 
made of Worsted Damask Brocaded Stuffs, 
Scotch Plods and Calliminco. ' ' The Boston 
News Letter of 1742, had " Masqueraded 


Costume of Colonial Times 

Stuffs suitable for Gown, and Banyans. ' ' In 
the Boston Gazette of April 17, 1769, we 
read of a " Ran away Negro Boy named 
Robin of yellow complexion and hair, car- 
ried off a green flower' d Russell Banyan. " 
A diary of the times speaks in the year 1744 
of an Indian child " neatly dressed in a green 
banjan ; ' ' and the will of Colonel Robert 
Vassall of Cambridge, Mass., left a "Ban- 
jan " to his son. So it was evidently a gar- 
ment like a dressing-gown, made of highly 
colored or figured cloth and worn by old 
and young of both sexes ; perhaps it is a 
banyan that appears garishly enveloping the 
masculine form in many of Copley's por- 
traits — for instance, the one of Nicholas 
Boylston, in Harvard Memorial Hall. In 
Virginia these banyans were much worn, so 
said Wm. Byrd, and were sometimes lined 
with a rich material, and thus could be worn 
either side out. 

Barlicorns. " Check' d barlicorns " 
were advertised among dress fabrics in the 
Boston Gazette m 1755, and until Revolu- 
tionary times. 


Costume of Colonial Times 

Barragons. " Barragons of various fig- 
ures and colours ' ' were advertised in the Bos- 
ton Evening Post in 1761 and in 1783. The 
word is also written barraken, barracan, and 
barragan. Gilbert White described it in his 
Selborne as " a genteel corded stuff much 
in vogue for summer wear." It was made 
originally at the Levant, of camel's hair. 

Barratine. An obsolete stuff, of which 
even the description is wholly lost. In the 
London Gazette of 1689, a barratine mantua 
and petticoat were advertised. In the will 
of one C. Taylor, of Philadelphia, in 1697, 
were named a " baratine body, stomacher, 
petticoat and forehead clothes." I think it 
was a silk stuff. 

Barry. I have read several times of 
barry-colored gowns. I know of no such 
color. The heraldic term barry means 
horizontally barred. A barry gown may have 
been what we now term bayadere striped. 

Barvell. a coarse leathern apron used 
by workmen, chiefly by fishermen. It is 
possibly a corruption of bar7n, meaning lap, 


Costume of Colonial Times 

and fell, meaning skin. The name appears 
in inventories of goods sent by the English 
Company to America in the seventeenth 
century, especially to the Maine settlers 
who were with John Wynter at Richmond's 
Island, in the years from 1635 to 1640. 
These inventories are published in the Col- 
lections of the Maine Historical Society for 
the year 1884. We there read of " calue 
skins for barvells," and find that three bar- 
veils were worth nine shillings. By a curi- 
ous survival, this old English provincial word 
still may be heard used by the fishermen on 
the coast of Maine, as well as by English 
sailors and seamen. 

Batts. In the inventories of goods 
ordered by and sent to John Wynter in 1636, 
from the English Company, appear fre- 
quently such items as "Four Paire Batts." 
Batts were heavy low shoes, laced in front. 
The word is still used in Somersetshire for 
similar shoes. 

Bayes. See Baize. 

Beads. Beads were a staple article of 
importation to the new land even in earliest 


Costume of Colonial Times 

days, being of especial value in trading with 
the Indians, who coveted them above every- 
thing save strong waters. The red men 
made beads for themselves " work'd out of 
certain shells so cunningly that neither Jew 
nor devil could counterfeit." Josselyn, in 
his New England^ s Rarities, thus de- 
scribed the adornments of the "tawny las- 

They are girt about the middle with a Zone 
wrought with Blue and White Beads into pretty 
Works. Of these Beads they have Bracelets for the 
Neck and Arms, and Links to hang in their Ears, 
and a Fair Table curiously made up with Beads like- 
wise to wear before their Breast. Their Hair they 
Combe backward and tye it up short with a Border 
about two Handsfull broad, wrought in works as the 
other with their Beads. 

By newspaper times we read of beads 
which were intended for the wear of Cau- 
casian dames and maids. 

" Sollitaire & Common Black & White 
Beeds ' ' were offered for sale in the Boston 
Gazette in 1749. Gold, silver, jet, pearl 
and marquasite beads also were sold. See 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Bearer. A roll or padding placed like 
a bustle at either hip to raise the skirt. 
Swift speaks of the " bolsters that supply her 
hips." We read of a colonial dame " with a 
coat raised by great bearers. ' ' 

Beaver. See Hat. 

Bedcoat. See Rail. 

Beryllian. In the Pennsylvania Ga- 
zette of 1729, and in the Charleston (?«- 
z^^/^ of 1744, appears frequently this word, 
in such advertisements as this "Beryllian 
and other Eastern India Goods for Women's 
apparell. " I do not find the word in any 

Biggin. A coif worn formerly by men ; 
it came quickly to mean exclusively a child's 
close cap or hood. Shakespeare speaks of 
" homely biggins," and they were evidently 
a cap for everyday wear. The word is prob- 
ably derived from beguine, a nun. The 
word biggonet was a later derivative and was 
applied to a woman's cap. We find in the 
Winthrop Papers Mistress Mary Dudley writ- 

Costume of Colonial Times 

irg in 1636 to Madame Winthrop for " fine 
holland for bigins ' ' for her new-bcJN» baby. 
In a masque given at Whitehall in 1639, a 
chorus of children wore as stage dress " bibs, 
biggins and muckinders. ' ' 

BiRDET. " Stript & plain Birdet " were 
named in the New England Weekly Journal 
in 1737, and "Very nice stript Damsacus 
and Chinese Burdet for Waistcoats " in 1767. 
It was apparently an India silk stuif. 

Bodice. This article of wear, usually 
spelt boddice, occasionally appears. More 
frequently in seventeenth century invento- 
ries is seen this form — " a pair of bodyes." 
These "bodyes" were a bodice in two 
pieces for outside wear, laced front and back 
and thus were literally a pair. I think the 
term was also used for stays. 

Bodkin. Originally a dagger, then a 
"hair-peg" or hair-pin. In the Triumph- 
ant Widow, 1677, we read: 

Silver bodkins for your hair, 
Bobs which maidens love to wear. 


Costume of Colonial Times 

Martha Emmons, of Boston," left in 1666 
a "Silver Bodkine," while Widow Susan- 
nah Oxenbridge of the same town had, in 
1695, a gold bodkin. A silver hair-peg 
named in 1 748 was a hair bodkin. A " hair 
neadell ' ' was also an ornamental hair-pin — 
the good old Saxon word haernaedl. See 

BoMBAziN. A mixture of silk and cotton 
introduced in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. 
In 1675 " the Dutch elders presented at 
court (at Norwich) a specimen of a novel 
work called bombazines for the manufactur- 
ing of which elegant stuff this city has ever 
since been famed." The name frequently 
appears in early colonial inventories ; " bom- 
ber-zeen " was advertised in the New Eng- 
land Weekly Journal in 1741, and the stuff 
has been in wear till our own day. 

Bone-Lace. See Lace. 

Bonnet. The first use that I have chanced 

to see in New England records of the word 

bonnet for women's headgear, was in the 

year 1725, when Madam Usher's wardrobe 


Costume of Colonial Times 

was sent to England. " Two silk bonnets " 
were on the list. In the Boston News Letter 
in 1743 it was stated where ladies might 
have bonnets made, so they must then have 
become widely worn. In 1 760 in the Boston 
Evening Post " Sattin Bonnets" were ad- 
vertised, and ' ' Quilted Bonnets and Kitty 
Fisher Bonnets;" and Anna Adams, a Bos- 
ton milhner, had " Quebeck and Garrick 
Bonnets. ' ' The following year came ' ' Prus- 
sian and Ranelagh Bonnets. ' ' In July, 1 764, 
came seasonable Leghorn and Queens Bon- 
riets, and then " drawn lace and rich lac'd 
bonnets," and " women's neat-made mourn- 
ing bonnets." In Hartford in 1775, Mary 
Gabiel, "Milhner from France," charged 
two shillings and six-pence for making new- 
est-fashioned bonnets in the neatest manner, 
and but a shilling for making a plain bon- 
net. We gain some notion of the colors 
fashionably worn, and sold opposite the 
Liberty Tree. "Plain and Masqueraded 
newest fashion crimson, blue, pink, white 
and black bonnets." There is no hint of 
the shapes of these early bonnets, whether 
poke or cottage, tunnel or saucer - shaped. 


Costume of Colonial Times 

From the portraits of the times I judge the 
modish head covering for many years to be 
hats and hoods. 

Boots. By the provincial government 
\of Massachusetts it was ordered, in 1651, 
that no man worth under ;^2oo should be 
allowed to ' ' walk in great boots. ' ' Jonas 
Fairbanks and Robert Edwards were tried 
in the Bay Colony for this offence against 
the commonwealth. As the boots of that 
day were frequently made cavalier-fashion, 
with broad, flaring tops, there is no doubt 
that this law was a frugal measure to dis- 
countenance the waste of leather. 

In 1 64 1 in the inventory of Edward Skin- 
ner, a leather worker, appeared ' ' White 
Russett Boots ; " he also had ' ' 5 payr Boots ' ' 
— made doubtless for wealthy colonists. 
Advertisements of boots are not plentiful in 
the early newspapers, though the law about 
boot-wearing had long ere their day become 
a dead letter. In 1715, in the Boston News 
Letter appear notices of ' ' English boots, 
half-jack and small, tops & spurs," and a 
"fresh hogshead of Half Jack English 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Jockey Boots." And at rare intervals jack- 
boots are advertised until Revolutionary- 
times, but apparently were only for wear on 
horseback. Top-boots, the delight of bucks 
and bloods, appeared in the latter half of the 
century ; and with the snowy tops and pol- 
ished legs formed an elegant foot-gear that 
deserved its popularity. 

Boot-Breeches. See Breeches. 

BoOT-HosE. These were the same as spat- 
terdashes, q. V. The name and article were 
in constant use in the Southern colonies. 
The earliest record is in the will of Zachary 
MoUeshead, of St. Marys, Maryland, in 
1638. " Boot-hose tops " also are named. 

Bosom Bottle. I was much puzzled by 
the advertisement in the Boston Evening 
Post of July 26, 1756, and in subsequent 
newspapers, of "Bosom Bottles." I now 
believe them to be the small, flat glasses, 
which, filled with water, were worn in the 
stomacher of the dress, and in which the 
stems of "bosom flowers" were placed. 
No lady at that time was considered to be 

Costume of Colonial Times 

in full dress unless she wore a bunch of 
natural flowers in her dress. A bosom bot- 
tle, four inches in height, used in the year 
1770, was pear-shaped, of heavy ribbed 
glass. They were sometimes covered with 
silk the color of the gown, for the purpose 
of more effectual concealment. 

Bracelet. I fancy these pieces of jew- ■ 
elry were rare in America in early days. 
Ann Clark had a " braselett " in Boston, 
in 1666, and wealthy Jane Oxenbridge had 
a carnelian bracelet in 1673; but I do not 
find any advertisements of them in eighteenth 
century newspapers, nor do I recall many 
portraits of that date in which the fair sitters 
displayed bracelets. 

Brasselets. " Figur'd & Spangl'd 
Brasselets ' ' were named among dress-fabrics 
in the Boston Evening Post in November, 
1767, and for a decade of years later. 

Brawls. A blue and white striped cot- 
ton cloth made in India. I find it adver- 
tised from 1785 to 1795 among other Indian 
stuffs. It was also spelt brauls. 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Breast Knots. We read in the Weekly 
Rehearsal of ]z.Tma.xy lo, 1732, that "in 
breast Isnots may be shown a good deal of 
ingenuity in delicate Choice of Colours & 
Dispositions ; a beautiful Purple is the gen- 
eral Mode." In 1798, in the Farmers' 
Weekly, " the brick dust hue of coquelicot 
ribands ' ' was said to be the prevailing color 
in knots. The Federal breast-knot, or rose, 
was made of black ribbon with a white but- 
ton or fastening. Bosom-knots were breast- 

Breeches. This word was in use as ear- 
ly as the year 1382 when Wiclif wrote of 
Adam and Eve that they made " briches " 
of fig-leaves. In still earlier days the Saxons 
and other breeched barbarians wore the gar- 

Though the Bay colonists had " doublet 
and hose," they also had coats and bryks, 
or breeches ; and they quickly taught the 
Indians to wear the latter also. This don- 
ning of small clothes by the savages was not 
wholly approved by the colonists, though it 
is difficult to conjecture the ground of ob- 


Costume of Colonial Times 

jection. Roger Williams wrote, "I have 
long had scruples of selling the natives aught 
but what may tend to bring to civilizing. 
I therefore neither bought nor shall sell them 
loose coats nor breeches." King Phihp 
wrote from Mount Hope in 1672, to Colonel 
Hopestill Foster, of Dorchester, asking for 
" A pr of good Indian briches and silke & 
Buttons & 7 yards Gallownes for trimming. ' ' 
We hear of another pair of Indian breeches 
at Warwick, R. I., in 1656, worth -js. 6d. 
And, indeed, by 1746 so prevalent had 
English fashions become among American 
savages that a runaway Indian ?naid-servant 
was advertised as wearing off "smoked 
leather breaches. ' ' 

Breeches-making became a trade in itself, 
aside from tailoring, because the breeches 
were commonly made of leather, deer-skin 
or sheep-skin, and required different work- 
men. " Philadelphia breeches " of deer- 
skin cost but ^4 a pair. In 1740 we 
read of " breeches with neither strings 
nor knee-straps," and again of a runaway 
"with white knee-strings," and another 
with "silk knee-straps." Knit breeches 

Costume of Colonial Times 

came in in 1768 "as low as four pistareens 
a pair," and " breeches pieces " or '' breech- 
es patterns ' ' of velvet, plush, silk, brocade, 
and other stuffs were sold. The breeches 
worn by the early planters were fulled at the 
waist and knee, after the Dutch fashion, 
somewhat like our modern knickerbockers, 
or the English bag-breeches. By the latter 
part of the eighteenth century they were 
worn skin-tight. A gentleman when order- 
ing a pair is said to have told his tailor, " If 
I can get into 'em, I won't pay for 'em." 
A curious item on many inventories of goods 
sent to John Wynter in Maine, about the 
year 1640 is " boot-breeches," and we read 
often of his selling " 2 yards Cape Cloth to 
make a paire boote-breeches. ' ' These were 
gathered full below the knee with a strap. 

Brocade. In the New England Weekly 
Journal oi September 29, 1737, we read of 
a " New parcel fine Brocaded Silks with 
White Grounds, beautifully Flower' d with 
Lively Colours." At other dates appear 
' ' rich Armozed Ground Brocades, " " Flow- 
er' d Brocade of Blue Ground " and " Pinck 


Costume of Colonial Times 

colour Brocade. ' ' Tbe brocades of colonial 
days were exceedingly rich in texture and 
color ; and examples preserved to our own 
day prove them unrivaled by the products 
of our modern looms. 

Brogue. A heavy coarse shoe made of 
rawhide, and originally of a single .upper 
piece of untanned leather sewed on a heavAf 
sole, and with a single tie lace. In the in- 
ventories of goods consigned to John Wyn- 
ter in Maine, in 1640, appear " 46 paire 
Brogues," and again " 2 paire broags," and 
" 3 paire Irish broags." Nineteen pair of 
"broags" were worth j£i. 8s. lod. These 
were the ' ' clouted brogues ' ' of Shake- 
speare's day. The Irish word brogan has 
much the same meaning. In the plural 
brogues sometimes meant trousers. Wash- 
ington Irving used the word in that sense. 

Brooch. Though doubtless brooches were 
worn in America in early days, I have not 
chanced to find them named till 1775, when 
' ' mocus and marquasite broaches ' ' were of- 
fered for sale. A little later came " gold 
broaches with -devices of hair and pearl." 


Costume of Colonial Times 

Brunswick. A habit or riding coat for' 
ladies' wear, said to have been introduced in 
England in 1750 from Germany. It had 
collar, lappets and buttons like a man's coat, 
and of course Boston dames had to follow 
English fashions ; so Boston milliners had 
Brunswicks for sale, and also Prussian cloaks, 

Bryks. See Breeches. 

Buckles. Weeden, in his Economic and 
Social History of New England, says that 
shoebuckles for women's wear were out of 
fashion in 1727; but we find that man of 
importance in the commonwealth — Judge 
Sewall — giving the Widow Denison, in 1728, 
a pair that cost five shillings and sixpence. 
By 1750 we find advertised, in the Boston 
Gazette, "women's white shoebuckles." 
They must have been in constant wear by 
men at that date, for they appear in every 
shopkeeper's list both North and South, and 
in many of the inventories of goods ordered 
abroad for children's and grown persons' 
wear. In the Connecticut Courant of May 
I) 1773) we read of "silver, plated, and 

Costume of Colonial Times 

pinchbeck shoe, knee, and stock buckles ; ' ' 
also "bootbuckles and Ladies' Elegant Set 
Shoe Buckles." Kneebuckles were also an 
important article of dress, being made of gold 
and silver and set with paste jewels. Gov- 
ernor Belcher had gold kneebuckles. 

BuFFONTS. A full projecting covering for 
a lady's throat and breast, made of gauze or 
lace or linen, and much worn from 1750 to 
1790, according to English magazines of 
these years. It was confined by the bodice 
and puffed out above like the breast of a 
pouter pigeon. In 1784, in the Salem news- 
papers, ' ' Thread and Net Buffonts ' ' and 
"Gauze Buffons " were advertised, and in 
the Massachusetts Gazette of May, 1771, 
' ' Hair bouffes and mops. ' ' 

Bugles. These tube-shaped black glass 
beads were offered for sale in Boston as early 
as 1740, and spelled beaugles. Spenser, in 
the Shepherd's Calendar, 1579, spelt it 

Buskins. In a few inventories I find bus- 
kins named. Richard Sawyer, of Windsor, 


Costume of Colonial Times 

Conn., had a pair of cloth " buskens " in 
1648. As late as 1743 a Boston runaway 
wore ofif "gray stockings with blue buskins 
over them," and a Pennsylvania redemp- 
tioner wore sliders with buskins. Buskins 
were also called kit-packs. They were a sort 
of half-boot. 

Buttons. The waistcoats and mandill- 
ions and doublets of the Bay colonists were 
fastened with hooks and eyes, but buttons 
must have been worn also, for John Eliot 
ordered for traffic with the Indians in 165 1 
three gross of pewter buttons. Robert 
Keayne, of Boston, writing in 1653, said 
bitterly that a " haynous offence" of his 
had been selling buttons at too large profit — 
that they were gold buttons and he had sold 
them for two shillings ninepence a dozen in 
Boston, when they had cost but two shillings 
a dozen in London ; which does not seem, in 
the light of our modern duties on imported 
goods, a very "haynous" profit. He also 
added with acerbity that " they were never 
payd for by those that complayned. ' ' These 
gilt and silvered buttons must have been 

Costume of Colonial Times 

fashionable, for I find them often named. In 
a tailor's bill of 1679 I find an item of " i 
Dozen & i^ Silver Buttons, ish 6d." 

Sir William Pepperell, writing to London 
in 1737, ordered " mohere buttons and 
mohere answerable," showing that buttons 
were made to match stuffs ; and he also 
ordered "12 grose Cheap mettal bottens 
and 12 grose coat bottens." The buttons 
displayed in his portrait are very large. He 
did not need to send to London for them ; 
there were for sale at that time in Boston 
"Gold and Silver Frosted Buttons, Cloth 
colored Horsehair Buttons All Sorts, Silver 
Washed Metal Buttons," and many other 

Buttons were made of coins, often of 
Spanish dollars ; and pewter buttons were 
cast at home in button moulds. A very 
grotesque form of buttons was of horses' teeth 
set in brass. By Revolutionary times basket 
and deathshead buttons became so fashion- 
able and so largely sold that for many years 
every newspaper throughout the country 
contained advertisements of them. It is 
safe to believe that buttons were worn con- 

Costume of Colonial Times 

stantly on men's clothes, from the earliest 
colonial days, and varied but slightly in 
their position on garments from that of the 
present day. They were also worn on 
looped or cocked hats. 

Button - Holes. Button - holes were a 
matter of ornament as well as of use. They 
were carefully cut and ' ' laid around ' ' 
bound in gay colors, embroidered, with sil- 
ver and gold thread, bound with vellum. 
We find in old-time letters directions about 
modish button - holes, and drawings even, 
in order that the shape may be exactly as 
wished. In the New England Weekly Jour- 
nal, in 1737, we find advertised "Silver 
and Gold Thread for Button Holes, and Sil- 
ver and Gold Sleazy Thread for Stitching 
and embroidering." 

Caddis. A woollen tape or coarse crew- 
ell used as a cheap trimming or woven in- 
to garters. It is frequently spelled cadiss, 
as in \he. Boston News Letter in 1736, or 
caddas, caddice and caddes, and often 
classed with qualities, another coarse bind- 


Costume of Colonial Times 

ing tape. The word is familiar to us 
through its use in the works of the old Eng- 
lish dramatists. Caddis was in the pedlar's 
pack in The Winter' s Tale. 


Hail, great Calash! o'erwhelming veil. 

By all-indulgent Heaven 
To sallow nymphs and maidens stale. 

In sportive kindness given. 

Thus wrote a Yankee poet in Rivington! s 
New York Gazette and in a Norwich news- 
paper in 1780. 

The calash is said to have been invented 
by the Duchess of Bedford in the year 1765, 
though similar head-coverings may be seen 
on English effigies of the sixteenth century. 
It was an enormous head-covering, a veri- 
table sunshade, which could scarcely be 
called a bonnet. It was usually made of 
thin green silk shirred on strong lengths of 
rattan or whalebone placed two or three 
inches apart, which were drawn in at the 
neck ; and it was sometimes, though seldom, 
finished with a narrow cape. It was extend- 
ible over the face like the top or hood of an 

Costume of Colonial Times 

old-fashioned chaise or calash, from which 
latter it doubtless received its name. It 
could be drawn out by narrow ribbons or 
bridles which were fastened to the edge at 
the top. The calash could also be pushed 
into a close gathered mass at the back of 
the head. Thus, standing well up from 
the head, they formed a good covering for 
the high-dressed and powdered heads of the 
date when they fashionably were worn — ^from 
1765 throughout the century; and for the 
caps worn in the beginning of this century. 
They were frequently a foot and a half in 
diameter and were sometimes of brown or 
gray silk, and I know of two made of thin 
white dimity, to be worn to evening parties 
by two young misses about sixty years ago. 
They were seen on the heads of old ladies in 
country towns in New England certainly 
until 1840, and possibly later. In England 
they were also worn until that date, as we 
learn from Mrs. Gaskell's Cranford, and 
Thackeray's Vanity Fair. 

Calico. Calicoes are spoken of by Jos- 
selyn in his New England' s Rarities, who 


Costume of Colonial Times 

says that. ' ' callicoes and aligers ' ' were readily 
vendible in New England, and specially 
sends for "blew-callicoe." John Wynter 
had six " Calcue Shurtes " in 1636. Pepys 
wrote forty years later that the English cus- 
toms oificers taxed it as linen, while the East 
India Company asserted that it was made of 
cotton wool that grew on trees. Though 
the name occasionally appears in American 
inventories and descriptions of the early part 
of the eighteenth century (as in the posses- 
sions of witch Anne Hibbins in 1656, "5 
painted Callico curtains & valiants "), cali- 
coes were neither universally nor fashionably 
worn until after the Revolution, when Bris- 
sot wrote : ' ' Calicoes and chintzes dress the 
women and children." I read in an old 
newspaper : " Since the peace, calico has 
become the general fashion of our country- 
women, and is worn by females of all condi- 
tions at all seasons of the year, both in town 
and country." The French calicoes were 
extremely delicate in color, fine of texture, 
and high in price, and were worn in mid- 
winter, even in the icy churches. They 
were also used to trim other and richer ma- 


Costume of Colonial Times 

terials. Such advertisements as this, from 
the Boston Evening Post in 1743, may fre- 
quently be seen: "Demy Chinted Callico 
Borders for Womens Petticoats. ' ' 

These calicoes came in many fanciful de- 
signs. We read of patterns called "liberty 
peak," "basket work," " Covent Garden 
cross-bar, " " Ranelagh half-moon, " " Prus- 
sian stormont," "harlequin moth," "a fine 
check inclosing four Lions Rampant and 
three flours de Luce." I have seen old 
calicoes stamped with portraits of Benjamin 
Franklin and George Washington, and an- 
other design with the presentment of some 
British officer. As these designs were 
stamped with blocks by hand, it was easy to 
order special patterns for special uses, such 
as bed-hangings. At Deerfield Memorial 
Hall may be seen a full stock of all the old- 
time tools and machines used in weaving and 
printing calico, including the old hand- 

Callimanco. Fairholt says, erroneous- 
ly, that this was a glazed linen stuff; it was 
a substantial and fashionable woollen stuff. 


Costume of Colonial Times 

The name is said to have meant, originally, 
a head-covering made of camel's hair ; later, 
by derivation, a vestment of the Pope. It 
was a woollen stuff of fine gloss, either ribbed 
or plain, and was used for many articles of 
men's and women's attire, and largely used 
in the middle of the last century for women's 
shoes. It was worn certainly as early as 
1666 in America; Martha Emmons, of Bos- 
ton, left by will at that date a " callimanco 
gound." In 1592 it had been woven in 
England. James Fontaine, a Huguenot set- 
tler of Virginia, gives in his memoirs a care- 
ful account of his attempt to manufacture 
callimanco in 1694, and says it was made 
of an extremely fine double twisted worsted 
thread. Pepperell, writing abroad in 1737, 
ordered a "peace of flowered Callimanco 
suitable to make my mother aWint' gown," 
and the same for his wife. In a letter pub- 
lished in the Collections of the Lexington 
Historical Society relating to the visit of 
Washington to that town in November, 1789, 
we read that, to do him full honor, " Lucin- 
dy, pert minx, had a most lovely Gown of 
Green Callamanco with Plumes to her hatt. ' ' 

Costume of Colonial Times a stuff either of hair, of silk, or 
of wool, or of all these materials in various 
combinations, in universal use from early 
colonial days, especially for cloaks and petti- 
coats. Camlets were also plain, twilled, 
or of double or single warp, and ,they fre- 
quently were watered. In 1652 Dorothie 
King, of Weymouth, had a " haire couller 
water chamlett goune," and we read con- 
stantly of camlet cloaks till well into this 
century. I have found vast variety in the 
spelling of the word : chamelot, camblet, 
chamlett, camilet, as well as camlet. 

Cantsloper. See Slops. 

Cap. In Durfey's Wit &> Mirth, or Pills 
to Purge Melancholy, there is a ballad on 
caps which proves that 

Any cap what e'er it be 

Is still the sign of some degree. 

The author mentions 

The Monmouth cap, the saylors thrum 
And that wherein the tradesmen come ; 
The physicke, lawe, the cap divine. 
And that which crowns the Muses Nine. 


Costume of Colonial Times 

Monmouth caps, worth two shillings each, 
were furnished to the Massachusetts colo- 
nists. These were much worn by seafaring 
men. We read, in A Satyr on Sea Offi- 
cers "With Monmouth cap and cutlass at 
my side, striding at least a yard at every 
stride." Washington also ordered them as 
late as 1769. "Red mill'd capps," worth 
five pence apiece, were supplied to the Bay 
emigrants. The portraits of Endicott, Se- 
wall, and many others, especially wig-haters, 
show black skull-caps. In the various Bos- 
ton newspapers by the year 1740, we find 
advertised, " Strip' d and Scarlett Single & 
Double Worsted Caps, Round-puff' t and 
Quilted Caps ; Fine Imbroidered Velvett 
Caps, Kilmarnock Mill'd Caps, Thrumb'd 

Women's caps were of equal variety by 
the middle of the century. We read of 
" Fly caps with Egrets, Brest Gauze Caps," 
round ear'd caps (which had no strings), 
strap caps (which had a strap under the 
chin). Bugle fly caps were worn in Penn- 
sylvania about 1760. Mob caps were de- 
scribed as a caul with two lappets, and were 

Costume of Colonial Times 

much worn. They were slouchy, baggy 
caps, with floppy frills or ruffles — not ele- 
gant for full dress. Mr. Felt quotes a letter 
written from Cape Cod in 1720 : 

Mobs are now worn but not so long by a quarter 
of a yard as mine. I was forced to cut mine half a 
quarter from each end to make them short enough 
for the fashion. 

These mobs must have been the streamers 
upon the mob-caps. Ranelagh mobs were 
made of gauze or net, puffed about the head, 
with two ends, crossed under the chin and 
then tied at the back, and left hanging in 
floating ends. The Queen's night-cap, 
though similar in shape, was made of richer 
gauze and was more trim and compact. It 
is familiar to us through having been worn 
by Martha Washington and shown in her 
portraits. It remained in fashion for nearly 
half a century. 

See Biggin, Curch, Coif, Mercury. 

Capuchin. A hooded cloak, so called 
from its resemblance to the hooded garment 
worn by the Capuchin monks. Fairholt, 


Costume of Colonial Times 

Planche, and other English writers say capu- 
cliins were introduced into England in 1752, 
but this date is incorrect ; the name appears 
in English publications as early as 1709. 
Fielding used it in " Tom Jones " in 1749, 
and the Covent Garden Journal of May i , 
1752, says: 

Within my memory the ladies covered their lovely 
necks with a Cloak, this was exchanged for the man- 
teel, this again was succeeded by the pelorine, the 
pelerine by the neckatee, the neckatee by the capu- 
chin which hath now stood its ground for a long 

Even in America, in 1749, the Boston 
Gazette advertised ' ' Cappechines. ' ' In 
June, 1753, Harriet Paine, the Boston shop- 
keeper, had " Flowered and Spotted Velvet 
for Capuchin Cloaks." Pink and figured 
mode capuchines, and colored and black silk, 
and black flowered mode for these cloaks 
came next, and were advertised in South 
Carolina newspapers. Fringe also appeared, 
and in 1767 crimson capuchin silk was worth 
four shillings and sixpence a yard. In order 
to show how rich a cloak and how richly 

Costume of Colonial Times 

trimmed these capuchins were, let me quote 
this notice from the Boston Evening Post of 
January 13, i-iiz: 

Taken from Concert Hall on Thursday Evening a 
handsom Crimson Satin Capuchin trimmed with a 
rich white Blond Lace with a narrow Blond Lace on 
the upper edge Lined with White Sarsnet. 

Twelve dollars reward was offered for its 
return. They were for many years much 
worn by women of fashion, and were used 
as a riding-hood. 

Cardinal. A hooded cloak greatly worn 
during the first half of the eighteenth cen- 
tury. The name continued in use till this 
century. It was originally of scarlet cloth, 
like the mozetta of a cardinal ; hence its 
name. Cardinals appear in Hogarth's prints, 
and are advertised in many New England 
papers for many years and in the Maryland 
Gazette in 1769. 

Carsey. See Kersey. 

Cassock. Steevens says a cassock "sig- 
nifies a horseman's loose coat, and is used in 

Costume of Colonial Times 

that sense by the writers of the age of 
Shakespeare." It was apparently a garment 
much like a coat or jerkin, and the names 
were used interchangeably. It finally be- 
came applied only to the coat or gown of 
the clergy. In the ' ' enuentory ' ' of the 
goods supplied to the Piscataquay Planta- 
tions in 1635 are these items: 

50 Cloth Cassocks & breeches 
153 Canvass " " " 
40 Shot 

In the will of Robert Saltonstall, made in 
1650, he names a "Plush Cassock," but 
cloth cassocks were the commonest wear. 
In the sixteenth century cassocks were worn 
by Englishwomen, but I have found no 
reference to their being worn by women in 
our colonies. 

Castor. See Hat. 

Catgut. A cloth woven in cords and 
used for lining and stiffening garments ; and 
also I judge, from Mrs. Delany's reference to 
it, as a canvas for embroidery purposes. 


Costume of Colonial Times 

John Adams, in his diary, under date 1766, 
tells of sitting to "hear the ladies talk of 
catgut, Paris net and riding-hoods." It 
was advertised in the newspapers until this 

Caul. A caul was a net to confine the 
hair, or a flat-netted head-dress. The word is 
said to have been thus used from the Middle 
Ages to the seventeenth century. I find it 
thus employed in Virginia in 1642, in the 
inventory of one Richard Lusthead. As 
indicating the hinder portions of a woman's 
cap, the word was used till this century. It 
was also applied to one part of a wig. 

Cherridary. This was an Indian cotton 
stuff much like a gingham. It was adver- 
tised for sale by the names cheridery, cher- 
riderrey, charidery, from 1712 until Revo- 
lutionary times, and may have been cheap, 
as it often appears as the material of vari- 
ous articles of apparel of runaways ; " cheri- 
dary wascotes," a " cherrederry gown," a 
"cherredary apron," &c. It is most fre- 
quently specified as being " narrow stript." 

Costume of Colonial Times 

CiFFER. — See Coif. 

Cloak. This garment has been worn by 
both sexes from the time of the landing of 
the Cavaliers and Pilgrims. EUinor Tras- 
ler had a sad-colored cloak in 1654. An- 
other colonist had a ' ' white Hair camblet 
Cloke lyned with blue." "Silk short 
Cloaks" were the wear in 1737, and in 
1742 there were advertised in the News 
Letter: " Womens Cloaks of most Colours ; 
viz : Scarlet, Crimson, Cloth Colour, made 
after the newest Fashion." Robert Salton- 
stall had a " gray cloke and a Sadd collered 
Cloke," and Major Pyncheon's " moehaire 
cloke" was worth one pound in 1703. 

Clogs. Clogs appear in newspaper ad- 
vertisements from 1737 throughout the 
eighteenth century. In England the name 
was used as early as 141 6. These over- 
shoes were made of various materials. I 
find named for sale brocaded, leather-eared, 
leather-toed, silk, velvet-banded, worsted, 
black velvet, white damask, flowered silk 
and prunella clogs. The stilted soles were 
of wood or thick leather, and the upper 

Costume of Colonial Times 

bands were frequently made to match the 
shoes or slippers with which the clogs were 
intended to be worn. White damask clogs 
were certainly worthy the wear of a bride. 
Common clogs were worth in 171 7 fifteen 
pence a pair, and in 1764 one shilling six 
pence a pair. Old clogs can be seen at the 
Deerfield Memorial Hall. 

Clout. We read in Hamlet : 

. . . a clout upon that head 
Where late the diadem stood ; 

and in The Debate between Pride and Low- 

With homely clouts i-knitt upon their head 
Simple yet white as thing so coarse might be. 

A clout was a coarse kerchief or covering for 
the head. I find the word in Maryland in- 

Coats. I do not find coats named in the 
inventories of the goods and clothing fur- 
nished to the planters at Plymouth and at 
Massachusetts Bay; but the emigrants to 

Costume of Colonial Times 

the Piscataquay Plantations had "27 Lined 
Coats, 16 Moose Coats, and 15 Papous 
Coats," which latter garment, after frequent 
encounter in similar inventories and ' ' pain- 
ful " investigation and consideration, I have 
found to be pappoose coats. These would 
appear to be children's coats, but in a con- 
temporary record I also find that ' ' three pa- 
poose skins were equal in value to one beaver 
skin, " so I wish to believe that the word pa- 
poose meant something other than an Indian 
baby. Josselyn said that moose-skin made 
" excellent coats for martial men," so doubt- 
less the Piscataquay warriors wore the moose 
coats. The name and garment quickly 
came into vogue in Boston. Raccoon-skin 
coats were worn : one owned by Thomas 
Fenner of Windsor, Conn., was worth ten 
shillings. Until our own day huntsmen and 
frontiersmen wore deerskin coats or jack- 
ets, picturesque and appropriate garments. 
The Apostle Eliot received by the will of 
Joseph Weld in 1646 the gift of "a tawny 
cloth coat," and in the same year a neigh- 
bor, John Pope of Dorchester, bequeathed 
" two Vper Coates," which were overcoats 


Costume of Colonial Times 

I fancy. In 1640 Robert Keayne of Boston 
paid " ;Q2 loj. for a silver lac'd coat and a 
gold lac'd hat," while in the same year 
three plainer coats were worth the same 

Scarlet coats were plentiful in New Eng- 
land at that time, and Winthrop ordered in 
1636 a coat of "sad foulding-colour without 

John Wynter, in 1636, had coats for the 
Indians that were worth "2 lb. Beaver" 
apiece. He writes to the consigner, " The 
coates are good, but somewhat of the short- 
est. The Indyans make choyse of the long- 
est. They pass best. ' ' 

The coat, as worn by men, is said by Fair- 
holt to have originated from the long waist- 
coat, or vest as Pepys called it, worn in the 
reign of Charles II., and for many years it was 
straight and full-skirted. It was not sloped 
away at the sides till the time of George 
III. — until macaroni time. All drawings or 
descriptions of men's costumes assigned to 
earlier days should have square-skirted coats, 
save in the case of a soldier's uniform, which 
ere that date had been turned back in lapels 

Costume of Colonial Times 

or revers for convenience's sake, and held 
back by buttons. The memorandum of 
George Washington, given on page 40, shows 
the shape of coat which was fashionable in 
the middle of the century in America. 

Horsemen's coats are frequently mentioned 
in early days ; for instance, in the will of one 
Metcalfe, in 1664 — " My largest gray Horse- 
man's Coat. ' ' Gabriel Harris, of New Lon- 
don, had in 1684 a "Broadcloth Coat with 
Red lining & a white Serge coat, ' ' quite showy 
articles of attire. From advertisements of 
runaways we learn of the various names ap- 
plied to various styles of coats. A deserter 
wore, in 1704, a " white cape cloth watch- 
coat ; " a negro wore off in the same year ' ' a 
Sad colour' d old Coat or new light Drugget 
coat with Buttons, Holes, and Linings of 
black ; ' ' another runaway had on a " Grego 
Watch Coat. ' ' Peter Faneuil bought in 1 7 38 
" 2 Large Fine Well painted Beaver Coats," 
for sleighing. We read, under the date 1736, 
of the loss of a " Great Coat of Red Whitney 
with red velvet Cape. The Coat a little 
fully 'd at the Back." 

Perhaps the most curious name given to a 

Costume of Colonial Times 

coat was one in the Virginia Gazette of May 
2 > 175 7 — ' ' -^ Thunder and Lightning Coat ; 
otherwise German Sarge." 

Children wore coats. Judge Sewall ap- 
propriately gave one of "blew, faced with 
red," to a little Puritan Aaron. John Cor- 
win paid, in 1679, six shillings for having a 
coat made for one of his children. Women 
wore coats also. The word was applied to 
their upper garments, and also to the petti- 
coats, and it is often difficult to decide to 
which it refers. Sometimes it is thus used : 
' ' Petty Coats, Peti-cotes, " or, as Sewall wrote 
it, "Petit-coats." The "turkey mohere 
coate " of Martha Emmons in 1666, the 
" blew shorte Coate, Green Vnder Coate, 
and Kersey Coate ' ' of Jane Humphr£ys in 
1668, were apparently outer garments. The 
"Silk Crape Quilted Coat" that runaway 
Keziah Wampum eloped with in 1740 seems 
somewhat difficult to place. See Petti- 

Cockade. The first naming of this word 
or article was in Rabelais, where it was 
written coquaide. In 1660 we read of 

Costume of Colonial Times 

cockarded hats. Steele and Pope wrote of 
cockards. Ribbon cockades were worn by 
women on hats and in the hair, as well as 
by men on cocked hats. In 1755 Horeshair 
" cocades " were advertised in the Boston 
Evening Post ; then, gold, silver, lace, and 
wire cockades. Federalist cockades were 
roses of white and black ribbon. 

Cockers. Also spelled cocurs, cocrez, and 
cokers. Laced high shoes or half-boots; 
also thick stocking legs without feet. The 
name is still used in England, as it was in 
Piers Ploughman's time, but is obsolete in 
New England. 

Coif. I find the words coif, quoife, 
quoyf, quoiff, ciffer, coifer, quiffer, and quifif, 
all used in New England to refer to a close 
head-dress or cap. The words had applied 
originally to a hood or cap, equally for 
men's and women's wear, but appear in this 
country to have been used only for wom- 
en's headgear. In a letter to Winthrop, 
dated 1636, we read of " cutt-worke coifes." 
And the Indian braves called English women 

Costume of Colonial Times 

" Lazie Squaes" because they sat at home 
" embroidering coifs " instead of digging in 
the fields for their lords. Mary Haines's in- 
ventory in New London, in 1655, contained 
both the word ciffer and quoyf. Jane 
Humphrey left behind her in 1668 " a plain 
black Quoife without any lace, and my best 
quoife with a lace." John Pyncheon, of 
Springfield, sold in 1653 "blew coifers " to 
Henry Burt that were worth five shillings 
apiece. ' ' In Virginia the word was usually 
spelled quoiff. 

Colchester Cloth. See Baize. 

CoLVERTEEN. See Lace. 

Comb. In the list of orders which John 
Eliot sent to England in 1651 he specified 
" 4 Boxes of Combes " for the Indians, thus 
proving that he deemed cleanliness next to 
godliness. In 1737 Sir William Pepperell, 
ordering also for trade with the Indians, 
wished " I Grose Horn Combes, I Grose 
Ivory small teeth Combes." In 1763 in 
the Boston Evening Post, were advertised 

Costume of Colonial Times 

"Fine Dander Combs, Horn & Buckling 
Combs, Touper Combs with & without 
Cases," and again, "Fine Dandriff Combs, 
and Tupee Cramber ' Combs. ' ' Ten years 
later came ' ' Tortoise Shell Poll Combs, 
Ivory Tupee & Tail Combs, ' ' and then ' ' Bent 
combs;" proving that they had — as I saw 
advertised in the Connecticut Courant — 
"combs of every denomination." I have 
seen an old case of tortoise - shell dressing 
combs about one hundred years old. The 
teeth were heavier and coarser than in our 
modern combs; hence perhaps their safe 
preservation to the present day. 

The great "poll combs" of shell, horn 
or silver, for ornamenting the head are fa- 
miliar to us all, and have been worn almost 
to the present day. 

Cornet. Cotgrave said a cornet was " a 
fashion of Shadow or Boone grace vsed in 
old time and to this day by some old women," 
and Evelyn speaks of " the upper pinner of 
a cornet dangling about her cheeks like 
hounds ears." The head-covering of the 
Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul is called a cor- 

Costume of Colonial Times 

net. Cornets and cornuted caps appear in 
early New York inventories, and were ap- 
parently a Dutch fashion. 

Copper-Clouts. See Spatterdashes. 

Corsets. See Stays. 

CouRCHEF. Same meaning as curch, q. v. 

Cravat. Blount in 1656 called a cravat 
"a new fashioned Gorget which women 
wear. ' ' Lawn cravats were advertised in the 
Boston Evening Post as early as 1753. The 
Governor of Acadia had lace cravats in 
1690. Governor Berkeley, of Virginia, 
ordered in 1660 a cravat which was to cost 
five pounds. Such rich neck wear as that 
could not have been found in New England 
at that date. In the middle of the eighteenth 
century we often read of "black mill'd 
cravats. ' ' 

Crewell. Fine worsted used originally 
for fringe and garters, then for embroidery 

Crocus. There is no clew whatever to the 


Costume of Colonial Times 

quality of this stuff, though the word was for 
a century in common use. Nor does the 
definition of the word in this sense appear in 
any English or American dictionary. A 
runaway slave was advertised in the Boston 
News Letter of October, 1704, as wearing a 
' ' Crocus Apron ; ' ' others in the Virginia 
Gazette of 1757 with " Crocus Trowzers." 
In a crazily wild letter written from the Bar- 
badoes by Richard Hall to Benning Went- 
worth in 17 19, he says of smuggling, "This 
is indeed to squint over the Left Shoulder, to 
run Crocus under a wrapper of Ozenbrigs," 
which would seem to imply that crocus was 
a fine and costly fabric. Still, " trowzers " 
at that date were made wholly of coarse linen 
and tow stuff's, not of rich or heavy materials. 
Miss Caroline Hazard in her interesting ac- 
count of Narragansett colonial days — College 
Tom — gives many valuable household inven- 
tories. From them we learn that in 1760 
the cost of weaving crocus was but half that 
of weaving flannel ; which would also imply 
that crocus was a cheap coarse stuff". Its 
general wear by slaves and servants would 
point to the same conclusion. 


Costume of Colonial Times 

Crosscloth. a crosscloth was a portion 
of a woman's head-dress worn with a coif in 
the seventeenth century, and was apparently 
the same as a forehead cloth. I find " crosse- 
cloths ' ' enumerated with quoifes in the pos- 
sessions of Richard Lusthead in Maryland in 
1642. A Puritan of Wenham, Mass., and 
another of Dorchester had them in 1647. 
Hence, they were worn by both Puritan and 
Cavalier dames. 

CuRCH. This word, as used in New 
England and in Pennsylvania, designated an 
inner cap for the head, worn by women, and 
usually of plain linen. It is doubtless an 
abbreviation of kerchief, and is of Scotch 
origin. It is frequently used by Scott in his 
novels, and a note in The Lady of the Lake 
says, " The snood was exchanged for the 
curch, toy, or coif, when a Scottish lass 
passed by marriage into the matron state. ' ' 

CusTALL. See Stays. 


" Cut werke was greate both in court and tounes, 
Both in menes hoddis and also in their gounes." 

A portrait of Louis of Anjou shows him 


Costume 'of Colonial Times 

dressed in a hood, surtout, and a long 
shoulder sash all edged with cutwork — -a 
graceful openwork embroidery in the shape 
of leaves. The excessive use of cutwork 
embroidery was forbidden to the Puritans, 
yet cutwork coifs were worn in the new land. 
Christopher Youngs, of Wenham, Mass., 
owned them in 1647 ; and one writer com- 
plained of the vanity of the Pilgrims in 
sending to England for cutwork. The 
Massachusetts Indians noted, as did Burton 
in his Anatomy of Melancholy, that Eng- 
lish women loved to occupy their time with 
embroidering cutwork. In several of the 
century-darkened portraits of our ancestors 
that have descended to us, especially of the 
Virginian settlers, the broad collars appear 
to have cutwork borders. 

Cypress. Also Cyprus, cipre, sipers, sy- 
press, syphus. Originally a rich stuff, cloth of 
gold and silk, the name came to be applied 
only to a thin mourning silk which was used 
like crape, and was in substance much like 
crape. Phillips in 1678 said cypress was " a 
fine curled stuff part Silk part Hair, of a Cob- 

Costume of Colonial Times 

web thinness, of which hoods for Women are 
made. ' ' It ,was named in a New England 
will as early as 1695 — "half a piece of 
sipers." It was always black. Autolycus in 
TAe Winter's Tale, says, 

Lawne as white as driven snow, 
Cyprus black as ere was crow. 

" Silk Crape, Widow's Crape, Cyprus and 
Hat Crape ' ' were advertised in the Boston 
Evening Post of 1755, and until Federal 

Damask. A rich fabric woven in elabo- 
rate patterns in silk, silk and wool, or linen ; 
and when in silk, frequently of various col- 
ors. In 1698 a piece of damask was said to 
be worth ^2 los. This may have been a 
fabric of linen or of silk. We read of 
"India Flower'd Damask and Venetian 
Flower' d Damask," which were surely silk. 
Negro women ran off in green flowered 
damask gowns and red damask petticoats, 
which were probably woollen damask. By 
Revolutionary times, in the Connecticut 
Courant we read of " silk and cotton Damas- 
cusses ' ' which were evidently also damask, 


Costume of Colonial Times 

and of " Damascuss for Waistcoats. " Many 
of the rich garments of the times were of 
damask, and the materials of our own day 
are not superior either in design or color to 
these colonial fabrics. The gorgeous gowns 
of Peter Faneuil's sister, which are preserved 
in cases and exhibited at the Boston Art 
Museum, are good examples. 

Dauphiness. This was the name of a 
certain style of mantle. Harriott Paine had 
' ' Dauphiness Mantles ' ' for sale in Boston in 

Demicastor. See Hat. 

Desoy. The full name of this material 
was sergedesoy, or sergedusoy, — a coarse 
silken stuff, as the name plainly indicates. 
It was in frequent use in the eighteenth 
century, especially for men's coats and 

Dimity. This ribbed cotton stuff is said 
to have been made first at Damietta. It 
was mentioned by the Apostle John Eliot as 

Costume of Colonial Times 

early as 1 651, on the list of goods ordered 
from England. ' ' White Dimity, " " Corded 
Dimothy, " " Flowered d}Tnmitty, ' ' appear 
at later dates in colonial papers. In fact, 
the material has been used until the present 

DoRNEX. A heavy, coarse linen, much 
like canvas, originally made at Dorneck or 
Tournay. It appears on lists under various 
spellings : dornix, tornix, darnex, darnick, 
dorneck, dornickes. In 1658 Simon Eire, 
of Boston, had a bed with " curtaince and 
valence of Dornix." In 1652 Thomas 
Olliver had a "dornix carpitt." It was 
too coarse and stiff for wear for gentlefolk, 
but servants had garments made of it. I 
read of "darnex petticoats," "dornix 
breeches," and frequently of " dornex jack- 
ets," on negro house-servants. 

Doublet. A name apparently given be- 
cause the garment was at first of double 
material, wadded between. It was fre- 
quently belted and made without sleeves, 
and was originally used as an outer garment 

Costume of Colonial Times 

worn over a waistcoat, and worn with long 
hose. In the " apparell for one hundred 
men" furnished in 1628 by the Massa- 
chusetts Bay Company, were " 200 sutes 
of Norden dussens or hampsheere kersies 
lyned the hose with sliins, the dublet with 
lynen of gilford or gedlyman kerseys 2s. lod. 
to T,s. a yard, 4j^ yards to asute." Hence 
it is evident that doublet and hose formed a 
suit. Richard Sawyer, of Hartford had, in 
1648, "bucks-leather, calfs-leather and liver- 
colour'd and musck-coulour'd cloth doub- 
litts." Zerubbabel Endicott, of Salem, left 
by will in 1683 a "black coat with Doublet 
and Hose. ' ' In the Southern colonies doub- 
lets were much more the mode than in New 
England, and of richer material — ' ' satten 
doubletts with silver buttons ' ' and velvet 

Doublets were also worn by women. 
Stubbs says, " Though this be a kind of 
attire proper only to a man, yet they blush 
not to wear it." Pepys, in 1666, sharply crit- 
icises English women for wearing doublets. 
Witch Anne Hibbins, of Boston, had a black 
satin one worth ten shillings. I do not 

Costume of Colonial Times 

find doublets named in inventories of the 
eighteentli century, except in" one or two 
cases. Major Jolin Pyncheon, an old Spring- 
field gentleman who died in 1703, left be- 
hind him " a Light coulour'd Dublet with 
gold twist, and sad coulour'd Britches." 

Dowlas. A heavy linen largely imported 
from earliest times — the ' ' dowlas, filthy 
dowlas " of Falstaff's day. It was made in 
Brittany. Governor Barefoot, of New 
Hampshire, sent in 1688 for " as many yards 
of Doulas as will make a dozen shirts." 
John Wynter imported in 1638 " 6 Doz 
Dowlys Shurtes at 4J-. ^d. one with the 
other." The name appears in occasional 
use until this century, usually applied to the 
material of shirts or summer breeches. 

Drawboys. In the Boston Gazette of 
May, 1750, we read of "Fine Figured 
Drawboys for Womens Coats with Fringe." 

Drawers. Cotgrave says that coarse 
stockings made to draw on over other hose 
were called drawers. Leathern drawers 
were supplied to each Boston emigrant, and 

Costume of Colonial Times 

were, I think, draw-strings for the knee- 
bands of breaches. I find the word seldom 
used in New England in its present signifi- 
cation in the seventeenth century. In New 
York, gentlemen had silk and calico drawers, 
which were probably summer breeches. 

Drugget. A fabric of wool worth 
twelve shillings a yard in 17 13, and much 
used for heavy petticoats and coats. 

DuCAPE. This was a heavy silk of plain 
color corded somewhat like our modern Ot- 
toman silk. As early as 1675 Hull ordered 
to be brought on the Seaflower " Black Du- 
cape & Lustrings." It was advertised by 
milliners and merchants for many years, fre- 
quently under the name Due Cape. To 
show its wearing powers (or the painstaking 
care of our grandmothers), let me give the 
experience of Elizabeth Porter, whose wed- 
ding gown in 1770 was brown ducape. 
Eighteen years later this ducape gown was 
made over, and forty years from the wed- 
ding-day it was still in existence and sound 
enough to be again refashioned. 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Duffels. "Duffle" was woollen stuff 
originally made in Duffel, a town in Flan- 
ders. It was excluded from England for a 
time, to favor home manufactures. It had 
a thick tufted or knotted nap. De Foe said 
this stuff was made at Whitney, England, 
purposely for winter wear in America. Cer- 
tainly "coats of duffels" are constantly 
mentioned. The match-coats sold to the 
Indians were made of it, and it supplanted 
fur garments and in time affected the fur 
trade. In the Colonial Documents of New 
York I read, " Duffel cannot be called cloth, 
it is worse than a sorte called wadmoll, and 
not ever worne by any Christians, only by 
the Indians." 

We find Hull ordering " Dutch Duffals 
white, blue and striped " in 1672, and Sew- 
all ' ' good steel blew duffal ' ' a few years 
later. Wait Winthrop writes to his brother 
in 1675, "The Duffels is none of the best 
but tis cheape at 4 shilling a yard ; the best 
is 5 J. dd. or six shilling. ' ' William Byrd, 
of Virginia, writing in 1683 said, "The 
Duffields is the worst I ever saw . 
Coler too light, a Darker blue pleases bet- 

Costume of Colonial Times 

ter." Duffels formed so large a part of a 
trader's stock that the name finally became 
a general term applied to the entire outfit of 
a sportsman or camper. 

DuRANT. A close-grained woollen stuff, 
so named from its strength and wearing 
qualities. Among many advertisements of 
it I will note but one — in the Connecticut 
Courant oi A-pnl 22, 1776. 

DussENS. Sometimes spelled dozens. 
The Bay planters were furnished "100 sutes 
of Norden dussens or Hampshire kersies." 
Dussens was a kersey, g. v. 

Ear-rings. The earliest portraits of co- 
lonial women display no ear - rings. The 
widow of Colonel Livingstone of New Lon- 
don had a "pair of stoned ear-rings" in 
1735. In the Boston Evening Post of June 
1755 ■ws read of ' ' Undressed Ear-rings, 
Stone, French-Pearl & Crincled Ear-rings, 
French Rose Ear-rings and Cristiall Ear- 
rings " — so they evidently had become at 
that date wholly the mode. In 1771 J. 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Coolidge, Jr., had still further styles — 
" Paste, enamelled, pearl, garnet, mock gar- 
net and black ear-rings. ' ' In the Connecticut 
Courant of May, 1775, we read this notice : 
"For the Ladies: Pierc'd & Plain stone 
ear-rings set in gold & silver ; jointed gold 
wires for the ears." Bernard Gratz had for 
sale in Philadelphia in 1760: "Fancy 
cluster ear-rings ; French pearl, circled and 
points ; plain open ear-rings ; Garnet night 

Egret. Sometimes spelt aigret. A tuft 
of feathers worn by women for a head orna- 
ment. We read of bugle, silk, and silver 
egrets, and fly caps with egrets, in the Boston 
Evening Post of November, 1755, and for 
thirty years later, as long as military fashions 

Elamod. See Alamode. 

Ellapine. See Allapine. 

Equipage. An ornamental case for wom- 
en's wear to hold scissors, knife, thimble. 

Costume of Colonial Times 

pencil, tooth-pick case, tweezers, ' ' ear- 
pick," bodkin, nail-cleaner, etc. In the 
time of George I. an equipage was worn 
hooked to the left side. At a later date it 
was hung by a stay hook on the upper edge 
of the bodice. I find " Silver Equipages " 
advertised in the Boston News Letter of 
April 28, 1768, and steel equipages also. 
See Etui." 

Erminetta. a thin stuff for summer 
wear. In the Boston Evening Post of 1751 
we read, "Genteel Linen and Cotton Er- 
minettas. ' ' Runaway negresses were adver- 
tised as wearing off erminetta gowns. 

Ermozen. See Armozine. 

EsTAMiNE. See Taminy. 

Etui. This was a name synonymous with 
equipage. In the Salem Gazette, in 1784, 
were named, " Ladies Neat House wifs and 
Etwees. ' ' Isaiah Thomas, in his Book Cat- 
alogue of about the same date advertised 
"Ladies Elegant Red Morocco Huswives 

Costume of Colonial Times 

and Etwees with Silver Locks and Some 
Silver mounted. Red Morocco Pocket books 
with Etwees." I have never found it 
spelled etui until modern times, but fre- 
quently estuy, ettwee, etuy, etc. See Equi- 

Falling Band. 

The eighth Henry (as I understand) 
Was the first king that ever wore a Band 
And but a Failing-Band, plaine with a hem 
All other people knew no use of them. 

Thus wrote old John Taylor in his 
Praise of Clean Linnen. 

The broad, plain linen collar, turned 
down over the neck of the doublet or jerkin, 
was the common form of the falling-band. 
It is familiar to us through early portraits. 
It sometimes consisted of several pieces, or 
collars, one falling over the other. It was 
frequently called simply a fall. Both names 
appear in a majority of the early colonial 
inventories. The " three Yards ffine Lace 
for ffrills and ffals" which Governor Berke- 
ley, of Virginia, ordered in 1660, and which 
were worth j[^2 2,s. , may have been intended 

Costume of Colonial Times 

for falls, or for fallals, which latter were 
ornamental knots of lace and ribbon worn 
in England that I have never seen specially 
named elsewhere in American inventories or 
hsts. See Band. 

Fan. The iirst newspaper advertisement 
in New England relating to fans was in the 
Boston News Letter of April, 17 14. On 
July 1 8th, 1728, this notice appeared : 

George Harding lately from London, now at Mr. 
John Potters, Confectioners, Mounteth all sorts of 
Fans as well as any Done in old England. He like- 
wise hath a large Sortment of Curious Mounts which 
he will dispose of very Reasonably, not purposing to 
stay long in These Parts. 

By 1732 other fan mounters had come to 
town, and set up business on Beacon street, 
near the Common. 

The Person that mounts Fans having a Parcel 
Just arriv'd. All Gentlewomen that Desire to be 
Supply'd may have them. She intending to Mount 
no more desires they would be speedy in Coming. 

Perhaps a few wealthy Boston dames may 

have owned fans from earliest Colonial days. 

Abigail Kellond paid ;£s for one in Boston, 

in 1686 ; but certainly fans were not com- 


Costume of Colonial Times 

monly used until toward the middle of the 
eighteenth century. Feather fans with gold 
handles had been too purely court luxuries to 
be plentiful in the new land, though the 
"2 Feather Skreens" in Madam Usher's 
wardrobe in 1725 were doubtless hand 
screens or fans. In 1736 " Women's & Chil- 
dren's Ivory, Cocoa & Bone Stick't Fans " 
were advertised, and "Fine Paper Fans," 
and "Rich Fans of Leather & Paper 

The London Magazine of 1744 speaks of 
fans at that date as wonderfully increased in 
size, " from three quarters of a foot to a foot 
and three quarters or two feet ; ' ' and I pre- 
sume the fashion spread to America. In 
1750 women's and children's mourning and 
half mourning and church fans were offered 
for sale, thus showing a fine and discriminat- 
ing regard for fashion. " Paddlestick cut 
silver mount fans" appeared^ in 1764, and 
" Marlborough & other fashionable fans." 
Occasionally a portrait of this date is shown 
of a fan-bearing dame, and a few of such 
fans have been preserved to us, looking more 
of the French taste than of the English. 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Farrandine. See Ferrandine. 

Fearnaught. a thick cloth with a long 
pile, also called dreadnaught and fear- 
nothing. In the Virginia Gazette in 1752 
and 1753 we frequently read of runaway 
slaves wearing fearnothing jackets. 

Ferrandine. Also farrandine and faren- 
don. A cloth partly of silk, partly of wool 
or hair, much like what we now call poplin. 
It was frequently named by Pepys and was 
much worn at that time, and was used speci- 
ally for waistcoats. The name appears in 
New York and New England lists of cloth- 

Ferret. Originally a narrow worsted 
ribbon or tape used for bindings. The 
word ferret or ferriting was at a later date 
applied to any narrow tape, such as shoe 
lacing. In the Boston News Letter of 1762 
" Cotton and Silk Ferrit Laces, also Black 
and Colour'd Silk Ferrits " were advertised. 
The word will occasionally be seen on tape- 
boxes in old shops nowadays. 

Costume of Colonial Times 

FiLEMOT. A corruption of feuille-morte 
— of the color of a dead leaf. 

Foot-Mantle. See Safeguard. 

Frieze. A coarse woollen stuff worn by- 
poor folk, and used since the fourteenth cen- 
tury. I have seen the word but rarely in 
colonial inventories. The New Hampshire 
settlers had "ffrise " garments. 

Frog. An ornamental cloak, coat, or hat 
button. Frogs are seen on few of the early 
portraits. Governor Belcher wears a coat 
trimmed with them in his portrait. Major 
John Pyncheon had, in 1703, a "light 
coulour'd cape-coat with Frogs on it." In 
the New England Weekly Journal of 1736 
"New Fashion' d Frogs" are named; and 
later, " Spangled Scalloped & Brocaded 
Frogs. ' ' Frogs also appeared on the list of 
hat trimmings. 

Frosts. Judge Sewall wrote on Jan. 19, 
1 7 1 7 : " Great Rain and very Slippery ; 
was fain to wear Frosts. ' ' These frosts were 

Costume of Colonial Times 

perhaps what have been called on horses 
" frost nails," or calks, and at a later date, 
for men's wear, calks. They were simply 
spiked soles to help the wearer to walk on ice. 
A pair may be seen at the Deerfield Memorial 

Furbelows. In the Pleasant Art of 
Money- Catching (1730) a furbelowed scarf 
is said " not to be purchased under as much 
money as heretofore would have bought a 
good citizen's wife a new gown and petti- 
coat. But these furbelows are not confin'd to 
scarfs, but they must have furbelow' d gowns 
and furbelow' d petticoats, and, as I have 
heard, furbelow' d smocks too." 

Furbelows were invented by a Frenchman 
named Langlee, the son of a waiting-maid of 
Madame de Maintenon, and were simply 
rows of quilled flounces, and subsequently 
gathered flounces looped in clusters of plaits. 
They were called in France falbalas. Furbe- 
lowed gowns and petticoats and scarfs our 
foremothers had in America, and perhaps the 
other garment also. Furbelowed collars we 
read of. The " Furbelow 'd Gold Gauze 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Scarf" of Richard Hall's wife (that he sold 
in Boston after her death at the Barbadoes) 
must have been beautiful, indeed. I have 
seen no notice of the English " rump furbe- 
lows," nor of the brooches placed in these 
furbelows and called "rump jewels" or 
rumphlets ; but I doubt not that wealthy 
New England dames were thus bedizened. 

Fustian. A stout twilled cotton stuff 
worth, in 1640, a shilling a yard, and much 
used for jackets and petticoats. 

Garters. To the planters of the Massa- 
chusetts Bay Colony were furnished "10 
dussen peare of Norwich garters, about ^s. a 
dussen pr. " At an early date in the affairs 
of the colony, silk garters were prohibited 
as an extravagant vanity. Susannah Oxen- 
bridge, the widow of the rich Boston minis- 
ter, specified and bequeathed in her will in 
1695, " My best Silke Stockins & Garters." 
In the Boston Independent Advertiser of 1748 
" Gartrings " appear, and in 1769, in the 
Boston Evening Post, were named "Cord 
Chain Thread & Knee Garters," and also 


Costume of Colonial Times 

" London Turkey & Scotch Gartrings, " and 
" Lettered Garters." So it is evident that 
garters were quite an important addition to 
dress, and possibly an expensive one too. 
In the hst of household goods and clothing 
which the Governor of Arcadia asserted that 
"Mr. Phips," the Governor of Massachu- 
setts, had stolen from him, or deprived him 
of, were four pair of silken garters ; with 
which borrowed finery possibly Governor 
Phips cut a fine figure. Judge Sewall had a 
rare pair of garters given to him in 1688 — 
" a pair of Jerusalem Garters which cost 
above 2 pieces 8 (Spanish dollars) in Al- 
geria. ' ' Snakeskin garters were worn to ward 
off cramp in the leg. 

GiNGERLiNE. Among the stuffs supplied 
to the Indians we find gingerline. The 
traders paid one yard and a half of gingerline 
for a bearskin, so doubtless many a brave 
wore gay gingerline breeches, and many a 
squaw a gingerline jacket. In the Duke 
of Newcastle's comedy, The Triumphant 
Widow, 1677, one character wears a "gin- 
gerline cloth cloke with olive plush cape." 

Costume of Colonial Times 

The word occurs in the Massachusetts 
Archives as late as 1703. 

Girdle. Gold and silver girdles were 
among the articles of dress forbidden by the 
Massachusetts General Court in 1634. In 
1628 " lether girdles " were assigned to each 
male emigrant. In later days they appear 
frequently in inventories, usually of buff 
leather. Susannah Oxenbridge had a " large 
Silke Girdle" in 1695. It was not till 1755 
that silver girdles and girdle buckles were 
advertised for sale. The Weekly Rehearsal, 
of Jan. 10, 1732, says, "in the Present 
Custom no Girdle terminates the Wast, ' ' and 
seems to regard the absence of that confining 
adornment as very indiscreet and almost im- 
moral. In New York the girdle was univer- 
sally worn by women of Dutch descent or 
birth. It was usually a rich ornament, being 
made of silver — sometimes of gold — and to 
it were hung the housewife's bunch of keys, 
her silver-clasped Bible, and fi-equently an 

Gloves. Nearly all the portraits of the 
settlers, — Puritans, Cavaliers, and Quakers — 

Costume of Colonial Times 

display gloves. Governors Endicott and 
Rawson wear rich gloves with deep embroid- 
ered cuffs or gauntlets. Zerubbabel Endicott 
left fringed gloves by will in 1683. They 
were imported in large numbers even in early 
days, and were of various materials; " cor- 
devant, buckskin, shammy, sattin, Irish lamb 
and glazed lambs-wool." Silver and gold 
fringed gloves also were worn, and " Pom- 
pedore" gloves. In 1628 gloves were fur- 
nished to the planters. One hundred men 
had "16 dussen of gloves of which 12 dussen 
of calfs leather, 2 dussen of sheeps leather, 2 
dussen Kyd." Gloves for women and chil- 
dren appear in all lists of wares in the news- 
papers. One great expense of a funeral was 
the gloves. In some communities these 
were sent as an approved and elegant form 
of invitation to relatives and friends and dig- 
nitaries, whose presence was desired. In 
the case of a funeral of any person promi- 
nent in state, church, or society, vast num- 
bers of gloves were disbursed ; ' ' none of 
'em of any figure but what had gloves sent 
to 'em." At the funeral of the wife of 
Governor Belcher, in 1736, over one thou- 

Costume of Colonial Times 

sand pairs of gloves were given away ; at 
the funeral of Andrew Faneuil three thou- 
sand pairs ; the number frequently ran up to 
several hundred, as at the funerals of some 
of the New York patroons. Different quali- 
ties of gloves were presented at the same 
funeral to persons of different social circles, 
or of varied degrees of consanguinity or 
acquaintance. Frequently the orders for 
these vales were given in wills. As early 
as 1633 Samuel Fuller, of Plymouth, di- 
rected in his will that his sister was to have 
gloves worth twelve shillings ; Governor 
Winthrop and his children each "a paire 
of gloves of five shillings ; ' ' while plebeian 
Rebecca Prime had to be contented with a 
cheap pair worth two shillings sixpence. 

The under-bearers who carried the coffin 
were usually given different and cheaper 
gloves than were the pall-bearers. We find 
seven pairs of gloves given at a pauper's 
funeral. Of course the minister, clergyman, 
or dominie always was given gloves ; they 
were showered on him at weddings, christen- 
ings, fimerals. 

Various kinds of gloves are specified as 

Costume of Colonial Times 

suitable for mourning; for instance, in the 
Boston Independent Advertiser va. 1749, and 
in New York newspapers of the same date, 
" Black Shammy Gloves and White Glazed 
Lambs Wool Gloves suitable for Funerals." 
White gloves were as often given as black, 
and purple gloves also. Good specimens 
of old mourning gloves have been preserved 
in the cabinets of the Worcester Society of 

By Liberty Days, in 1769, even mourning 
gloves showed the influences of the times, and 
were made in America of American materials, 
and it was proposed that they be stamped 
with a suggestive design such as the Liberty 

Glove Tightens. The long gloves worn 
by women were held up at the elbows by 
various devices. Glove-tightens made of 
plaited horse-hair were a favorite method. 
Glove strings were of enough importance and 
value for the sister of wealthy Peter Faneuil 
to send her discarded ones to London to be 
sold. Roses and ties of narrow ribbon were 
also worn at glove-tops. " Elastick glove- 

Costume of Colonial Times 

tops ' ' were advertised in the Salem Gazette 
of July 29, 1789. These glove fasteners 
were also called glove-bands, and in the 
Charleston Gazette (S. C.) of July 9, 1760, 
we read of hair glove-tops, probably made 
of braided horse-hair. 

GoLBERTAiNE. See Lace. 

Golosh. A "galage" was a shoe 
"which has nothing on the feet but a 
latchet. " A golosh was a shoe with soles of 
wood or leather, with straps to keep it on 
the foot. It was worn over an ordinary shoe 
or slipper in bad weather. They were used 
at an early date, for in February, 1687, 
Judge Sewall notes : " Sent my mothers 
Shoes & Golowshoes to carry to her." In 
1736 Peter Faneuil sent to England for 
"Galoushoes" for his sister. I find them 
advertised in the New England Weekly 
Journal in. 1739, ^^^ from that date in vary- 
ing intervals in various papers, till 1776. 
The popular spelling was "golo-shoe" pro- 
nounced as written, not in a single word, 
golosh. Occasionally it was written "golos- 
sians. ' ' See Clogs and Pattens. 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Gorget. An ornamental neckband 
which was very full and broad in front. The 
word is found but seldom in colonial records, 
and only in Maryland and Virginia. In 
1642, one wealthy Maryland planter left be- 
hind him at his death a large number of 
laced gorgets. 

Grain. A color — scarlet. The word is 
so used by Shakespeare, Spenser, and Milton. 
It was derived from the grain-like insects of 
the cochineal. I read in New England in- 
ventories of waistcoats of grain. 

Grazzets. a dress-stuff appearing in 
lists in the News Letter from 1712 to 1768, 
often specified as " changeable grazzets." 

Gridelin. Also gresdelin, gredolin, 
grisetin. From the French gris de lin — flax- 
gray. A gray-violet color which was fash- 
ionable in the eighteenth century. 

Grogram. Govenor Winthrop wrote thus: 
" I purpose to send by the bearer a piece of 
Turkey Grogram, about ten yards, to make 
yoi] a suit. ' ' It was a stiffened stuff of silk 

Costume of Colonial Times 

and wool, much like heavy mohair, and had, 
it is said, a diagonal weave. Captain Clay- 
borne of Palmer's Island, Maryland, had a 
" stitcht Grogram doublett " in 1638. We 
read until Revolutionary times of grogram 
waistcoats and cloaks, and sometimes of gar- 
ments of silk grograham. We find Governor 
Belcher writing to his London tailor, in 1733, 
about a " yellow grogram suit work't strong 
as well as neat and curious. ' ' 

Hair-Clasps. These ornaments for the 
hair — clasps to hold up the braided back 
hair — were advertised for sale in the New 
York newspapers and in the Connecticut 
Courant of January, 1791, and were worn 
until a simpler form of hair-dressing appeared 
about the year 1800. They were usually 
rather a cheap ornament, set with paste jew- 
els, as was the fashion of the day, with mar- 
casite, garnet, pearl and mocho stones ; or 
made of silver-gilt. I have also seen them of 
cut-steel, now tarnished and rusty with years. 

Hair-Lace. A fillet or ribbon for tying 
up the hair. Universally worn by women 

Costume of Colonial Times 

of all ranks and stations in the eighteenth 

Hair-Peg. See Bodkin. 

Hair-pin. In November, 1755, I find 
the first notice of hair-pins for sale — at Har- 
riot Paine's in Boston. She was a great 
importer of novelties to fair Bostonians. 
Previously to that time New England dames 
may have skewered the hair, for aught I 
know. Indeed, as she advertised " Double 
& Single Hairpins" in June, 1775, ^^^ 
single hair-pins may have been simply a long 
skewer of strong wire. Hairbins and hair- 
bines and harepins and black hairpens appear 
later, sandwiched in among the names of 
woollen goods, so the articles — or possibly 
they may be stuffs — thus designated were 
doubtless plentiful enough. I do not find 
hair-pins on wigmakers' and barbers' lists, in 
any colonial newspapers ; and I find some 
indications that hairbine was the name of a 
woollen material. See Bodkin. 

Haling-Hands. These were heavy gloves 
or mittens of woolen stuff or felting (for we 

Costume of Colonial Times 

read complaints of their being moth-eaten), 
and were frequently sent to the colonists at 
Richmond Island, Maine, for use on the 
fishing vessels. The evident signification of 
the word points to their being used as hand 
coverings for sailors and workmen while 
hauling cables or doing other heavy work ; 
and they are still sold and thus used. They 
were frequently lined in the palms with 
leather or heavy cloth. We read of a Maine 
workman, in 1639, buying " six paire haling- 
hands & i yard 3-4 Cape Cloth to lyne 
them & to make myttinges." Another fish- 
erman bought " list to lyn halings." These 
haling-hands sold for about sixpence a pair. 

Handkerchief. In the inventory of the 
goods supplied to the one hundred planters 
of Massachusetts Bay, in 1628, were items of 
"200 hankerchers" and "ells of sheer 
lynnen for hankerchers." At that time 
they were also called muckinders in England. 
In the early wills " handkerchiefes " were 
mentioned among articles of importance, 
and they were doubtless handsome and of 
rich materials, such as the handkerchief that 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Richard Hull sent from Barbadoes to be sold 
in Boston, " one silke Handkerchief with 
Gold Edging. ' ' They were not all of silk 
or linen, the "handkerchiefs that India's 
shuttle boast ' ' came quickly into the market 
with the increased Oriental trade. As early 
as 1737 good patriotic Peter Faneuil smug- 
gled into port 62 dozen Romall handker- 
chiefs at ^'j a dozen; and in 1755 " Le- 
mone Handkerchiefs ' ' were advertised in the 
Boston Gazette. These were of the India 
cotton material lemmanee. In the same 
paper at the same time were " Scotch and 
Paistwork Handkerchiefs." "Birdsey'd" 
and " Sarsnet " are the next names of the 
stuffs of which handkerchiefs were made, and 
November 18, 1767, one Boston shopkeeper 
had "linen check' d spotted flower' d stamp' d 
& border' d Cambrick; Barcelona, Pullicat, 
Lungee, Bandanoe, China, Culgee, Negligee, 
Rosett & Sattinet Handkerchiefs ' ' which— 
with the Bandanoet and Bilboa handker- 
chiefs of Jolley Allen's shop form a list we 
could hardly equal in modern times. And 
these were not all ; in the same year in 
the Connecticut Courant a lost box was ad- 

Costume of Colonial Times 

vertised. It contained " One plain gauze 
handkerchief lac'd, spotted gauze hand- 
kerchief lac'd with a plain blond lace, 
two plain gauze handkerchiefs." These 
latter and the "black gauze yard wide 
Handkerchiefs ' ' of the same date must, I 
fancy, have been used as neckkerchiefs. 
Abigail Adams, writing in 1785, to Mrs. 
Storer said : ' ' Abby has made you a minia- 
ture handkerchief just to show you one mode ; 
but caps hats and handkerchiefs are as various 
as ladies and milliners fancies can devise." 
These handkerchiefs were also ornamental 

Rebecca Franks, writing from New York 
to Philadelphia in 1778, also sent a handker- 
chief to show the pattern. 

Hat. Each emigrant was allowed by the 
Massachusetts Bay Company, in 1628, one 
" black hatt lyned at the brow with lether." 
This was apparently the best head-gear of 
the colonists, perhaps used only for Sunday 
and funeral wear. In 1634 a law was passed 
in Massachusetts against the wearing of 
beaver hats save by wealthy men. It ap- 


Costume of Colonial Times 

parently availed little, though men were 
prosecuted under it, for beaver hats were 
worn from that day as long as beaver hats 
were made — and nominally much longer. 
The colonists apparently believed, like the 
author oi Merry Drolleries in 1661, 

Of all the felts that may be felt 
Give me the English beaver. 

Doubtless the high price of such head cover- 
ings was the chief objection in the mind of 
the frugal magistrates. Beaver hats cost 
from four to six pounds apiece in England, 
as we learn from Pepys and other contem- 
porary diarists. Hence it is no wonder that 
when owned at all in a frontier province, like 
New England or even Virginia, they were 
valuable enough to be left by bequest and 
given as tokens of friendship and respect. 
In 1694 black beaverettes were worth two 
pounds apiece in America, while castor hats 
cost but thirty-one shillings. A demi-cas- 
tor was worth ^\ bs. in Springfield in 1658. 
In Maryland and Virginia rich head-gear 
was worn ; hats with gold hat-bands and 


Costume of Colonial Times 

In 1650 Robert Saltonstall left a " black 
beavor hatt" by will; in 1633 Samuel Ful- 
ler left his "best Hatt" to his minister, 
Elder Brewster. Hats were also made of 
cloth. In the tailor's bill of work done for 
Jonathan Corwin, of Salem, in 1679, we 
read, "To making a Broadcloath Hatt I4J-. 
To making 2 hatts & 2 jackets for your two 
sonnes igs." In 1672 an association of 
Massachusetts hatters asked privileges and 
protection from the colonial government, to 
aid and encourage American manufacture, 
but they were refused until they made bet- 
ter hats. Shortly after, however, the ex- 
portation of raccoon fur to England was for- 
bidden, or taxed, as it was found to be 
useful in the home manufacture of hats. 

Castor hats were largely imported ; Pep- 
perell ordered six dozen from England in 
one invoice. They appear on the heads of 
runaways in many an advertisement. Cocked 
hats came in vogue in New England when 
they did in England, and varied widely in 
shape as they did in looping, sometimes 
being turned up only in front with a button, 
at other times having three laps. In 1670 

Costume of Colonial Times 

hat brims were about six inches wide. Dr. 
Holyoke said that in 1732 his father wore 
one seven inches wide. In 1742 it became 

. . . a fashionable whim 
To wear it with a narrow brim. 

Cocked hats were richly trimmed with 
metal laces, cords, caddis, ferret, buttons, 
ribbons, cockades, rosettes, and were also 
painted. In 1738 in the Boston News Let- 
ter runaways were advertised, one wearing a 
' ' hat painted of several colours ; ' ' another 
a hat ' ' painted red. ' ' The words colored 
and painted appear to have been used inter- 
changeably in the eighteenth century ; and 
" colour' d hats" are frequently named. 
Cocked hats were worn by civilians until 
this century, and by the army also. During 
the Revolutionary War the sentence of whip- 
ping with five lashes was imposed on any 
soldier whose hat was found carelessly un- 
looped — " uncockt " — as it "gave him a 
hang-dog look. ' ' 

Puritan women also wore felt and beaver 
and castor hats, and bequeathed them by 
will, as did the men. A letter written in 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Dorchester by a lover to his lass, in 1647, 
tells of " thinking upon you for a hat & 
chose out ye comelyest fashion hatt yt they 
could find avoiding fantastick fashions. Ye 
hatt was a demi-castor the priz was 24s." 

Though Mary Harris, of New London, 
named a " straw hatt " in her will in 1655, 
such mention is unusual, and would have 
been in England at the same date. On June 
18, 1727, the JVew England Weekly Journal 
advertised "Women's Hatts made of fine. 
Bermuda Piatt. ' ' An affectation of country 
innocence made straw hats fashionable at 
about this time in England, where they were 
called " Churchills. " In 1732, a writer in 
the Weekly Rehearsal, speaks thus of " High- 
Croun'd Hats," "After being confin'd to 
Cots & Villages so long a time, they have 
become the Mode of Quality & the poHtest 
Distinction of a Fashionable Undress." In 
1742, in April, in the Boston Evening Post, 
fine Leghorn straw hats for women were ad- 
vertised at sixteen to fifty shillings apiece, 
and a " parcel of fine Ruff'd hats " for ladies. 
In 1737 Boston milliners had " New Fash- 
ion' d Nonpareil' d feather' d Hatts for ladies, ' ' 

Costume of Colonial Times 

which must have been mighty fine. In 1751 
Harriot Paine had for sale ' ' Saxon blue silk 
and Hair Hatts, black horsehair & Leghorn 
hatts," and in 1753 "Black & white & 
Black Horsehair Hatts emboss' d and stampt 
Sattin Hatts." "Fine beverett hats with 
tabby linings, " " tissue sattin & chipt hatts, ' ' 
were also sold in South Carolina as well as 
the more northern States. We gain a little 
suggestion of contemporary historical events 
by the names, " Quebeck Hats and Garrick 
Hats." We know prices also: " Womens 
chipt Hats 6oj-. O.T. per doz." in 1764, 
and "4s. 6flr apiece O.T." in 1767. In the 
latter year plain-trimmed and skeleton hats 
appear; on April 16, 1773, "Ladies New- 
est Fashion White Beaver Riding Hats." 
These riding hats had previously been de- 
nounced as an exceeding affectation in a 
" riding equipage. ' ' 

The Salem Gazette advertised in July, 
1784, "Air Balloon " and " Princess " hats. 
These were French fashions. A large brimmed 
hat was fashionable for some time at this date ; 
it had a low soft silk or gauze crown and a 
broad ribbon bow with long ends at the back, 
( 130 

Costume of Colonial Times 

and was trimmed with three ostrich feathers. 
Emily and Marlborough hats appeared in 
1786. Another modish hat had a brim with- 
out a crown. In 1796 Sally McKean (after- 
ward Marquise d'Yrigo) wrote -thus, to the 
sister of Dolly Madison, of the fashions of her 
day : 

The hats are quite different shape from what they 
used to be ; they have no slope in the crown ; scarce 
any rim, and are turned up at each side and worn 
very much on the side of the head. Several of them 
are made of chipped woods commonly known as can^ 
hats ; they are all lined. One that has come for Mrs. 
Bingham is lined with white and trimmed with broad 
purple ribbon put around in large puffs, with a bow 
on the left side. 

Hive. In milliners' lists in Massachusetts 
and Pennsylvania the word is seen, and it was 
applied to a straw head-covering shaped like 
a bee-hive for women's wear. Shakespeare, 
in the Lover' s Complaint, wrote ; 

Upon her head a platted hive of straw 
Which fortified her visage from the sun. 

In Durfey's Wit and Mirth, or Pills to 
purge Melancholy, he speaks, in a ballad 

Costume of Colonial Times 

on caps, of a "satin and a velvet hive for 
men's wear." I have also read in American 
newspapers of the eighteenth century, in the 
tedious romances that occasionally may be 
found in their columns, of fine young coun- 
try maids wearing hives on their heads. 

Hood. Though English prints of the 
seventeenth century usually represent Puritan 
women in steeple-crowned, straight-brimmed, 
untrimmed woollen hats, as ugly and unbe- 
coming as those of their sober spouses, I 
firmly believe that our Pilgrim mothers made 
their ocean journey and landed on Plymouth 
Rock in hoods ; and hoods did their descend- 
ants constantly wear in spite of the meddle- 
some prohibition of silk and tiffany hoods 
by the early magistrates.' Throughout the 
other colonies they were also worn by wom- 
en of every station. Through the two cen- 
turies following came a brilhant inflores- 
cence of hoods; though sometimes under 
other names. In 1666 Ann Clarke and Jane 
Humphrey, of Dorchester, left hoods by will. 
In 1695 Susannah Oxenbridge specified in 
her will her " Scarlett colour' d hoode & a 

Costume of Colonial Times 

black hoode." These hoods were not al- 
ways of heavy materials. In New York, 
women had ' ' love-hoods ' ' of silk and gauze 
— a pretty name and I am sure a pretty 
covering. In 1712 Richard Hall sent, from 
Barbadoes to Boston, a trunk of his deceased 
wife's finery to be sold, among which was 
' ' one black Flowered Gauze Hoode, ' ' and 
he added rather spitefully that he "could 
send better but it would be too rich for 
Boston. ' ' Servants wore hoods also ; many 
runaways were advertised as wearing that 
head-gear ; on May 6, 1 7 1 7, the Boston News 
Letter contained a description of a gayly at- 
tired Indian runaway, who wore off a 
" Camblet Ryding Hood fac'd with blue;" 
while another wore a dark brown riding- 
hood lined and faced with crimson. A rid- 
ing-hood had apparently a deep cape, for 
in the Weekly Rehearsal oi April 10, 1732, 
a runaway slave is advertised as wearing off 
an " Orange colour' d Riding Hood with 
Armholes. ' ' In old embroideries and prints 
we see good examples of riding-hoods. 

In 1724 Mr. Thomas Amory wrote to 
England for a " good fashionable fine riding- 


Costume of Colonial Times 

hood or a cloak with a hood to it embroid- 
ered. Any color would do except red or 
yellow." The following year, in Madam 
Usher's wardrobe were " Nine hoods of Sev- 
eral Sorts." Mistress Estabrook, wife of 
the parson at Windham, Conn., had many 
hoods of silk and gauze and serge and camlet. 

In 1737 " Fine, cource, and Pug Hoods" 
were advertised by Boston milliners in Boston 
papers, and " Tossells for Hoods" also. 
"Pugs" were in fashion for many years. 
Velvet hoods, and gauze hoods appeared in 
season. Gypsy hoods, too, had their day. 
Then came muskmelon hoods and pump- 
kin hoods — the latter perhaps the hottest 
head-coverings ever invented outside an 
Esquimau igloo — a hood that, as Tom Brown 
said, ' ' would make a Laplander sweat at 
the North Pole." These clumsy pumpkin 
hoods were made of great rolls of wool pad- 
ding placed between double woollen cover- 
ing, and held in place by quiltings or cords. 

It would appear also that men wore soxne 
form of head -gear like a hood and also called a 
hood. Judge Sewall donned one, probably 
to protect his neck, since he wore no wig. 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Hoops. When Margaret Winthrop and 
Priscilla Molines landed on the unknown 
shore of New England, their clinging gar- 
ments were not distended and disfigured by- 
hoops. Nor do I find any signs of the reign 
of hoops or " vardingales " in New England 
until the eighteenth century, save in the 
\vill of one Elizabeth Cutler in 1663, where 
she mentions a " Morone coulour'd Carsey 
Houp ' ' worth sixteen shillings. With the 
opening of the century, hoops came in fash- 
ion, for in 1 70 1 Solomon Stoddard wrote to 
Judge Sewall, mentioning "hooped petti- 
coats ' ' as trenching on morality. Indeed 
the tradition assigned for their assumption 
seems to have put them in bad repute every- 
where ever since 1596, when the author of 
Pleasant Quippes far Upstart New - Fan- 
gled Gentlewomen thus wrote : 

These hoops that hippes and haunch do hide 
And heave aloft the gay hoyst traine, 

As they are now in use for pride, 
So did they first beginne of paine. 

But hoops were quickly tolerated, even by 
very godly Puritan folk, for when William 


Costume of Colonial Times 

Pepperell married Judge Sewall's grand- 
daughter, Mary Hirst, in 1723, one of the 
bridegroom's valued wedding gifts was a 
hooped petticoat ; and I doubt not Mistress 
Mary Pepperell walked proudly to the North 
Church on the following Sabbath with dress 
spread out over her new hoop as she " came 
out bride ' ' observed of all in the narrow 
Boston street and in the Puritan meeting- 

In 1713 there was printed in Boston "A 
Satyr, in Verse : Origin of the Whalebone 
Petticoat," showing by the advent of carica- 
cature that the reign of hoops had begun. 
The ban of religion was also placed on the 
unwelcome fashion. The New England 
Courant offered for three pence, in 1722, a 
little book " intituled " — " Hoop-Pettycoats 
Arraigned and Condemned by the Light of 
Nature and Laws of God." On April 19, 
1728, " Womens Hoop Coats" were adver- 
tised in the New England Weekly Journal, 
and at the same time Mr. Amory, a rich Bos- 
ton merchant, condemned and returned a lot 
of petticoats consigned to him from England, 
because they were too scanty for wear with 

Costume of Colonial Times 

the hoops then in vogue. In 1740 " Quilt- 
ed and Hooped Petticoats" were imported, 
and petticoats suitable to large or small 
hoops. Hooped coats appeared, — " Long 
& Short Bone Hoop Coats," and "Hoop- 
ing Holland ;" the latter evidently to make 
strong linen petticoats into which reeds or 
bones could be run, as Pope said, " arm'd 
with ribs of whale. ' ' Whalebone and reeds 
were also plentifully sold, and cane and 
" quhaill-horne " — which was only another 
name for whalebone. The size and spread 
of hoops at this date may be fancied, when 
it is told that there were advertised in 1748, 
in the Boston Independent Advertiser, " Fine 
Newest Fashion Hoop Petticoats from 3 
yards to 5 yards made with fine Long Bone. ' ' 
The shapes of hoops varied in New England, 
as in England and France. Fly hoops were 
worn in 1755. Jane Eustis, a fashionable 
Boston mantua-maker and shopkeeper, had 
"Fan Hoops" for sale in 1758. In 1721 
came "Bell Hoops" of pyramidal shape, 
very large at the base ; and " Pocket Hoops ' ' 
— great panier-shaped humps, one on each 
hip — the ugliest and most cumbersome fashion 


Costume of Colonial Times 

ever in vogue, vs^ere worn in 1750 and also in 
1780. The portrait of Juliana Penn, daughter- 
in-law of William Penn, shows pocket hoops 
standing out a foot and a half horizontally 
from the waist. In an old piece of tapestry 
embroidered in 1756, portraying a wedding 
procession in Boston, the women all wear 
pocket hoops. The portrait of Mrs. Nicholas 
Boylston (1765) displays a big hoop. The 
advertisement of children's hoops and hoop- 
coats proves that little girls ballooned 
through Boston, New York, and Philadelphia 
streets as universally and unbecomingly as 
did their modish mothers. The shapes of all 
these hoops followed closely those of Eng- 
land ; swelling at the sides in vast " rumps " 
in Boston within a year after that ugly fashion 
obtained in London ; standing out in a vast 
circle around the feet of the sensible wives 
of the Salem merchants and Charleston and 
Annapolis ship-owners, just as similar ones 
proudly surrounded the limbs of patrician 
English duchesses. The classic garb of the 
court of Josephine banished hoops for a time, 
only to return until our own day in constant- 
ly recurring waves of fashion. 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Hose. The words hose and stockings 
seem to have been, from earliest New England 
days, interchangeable. When doublet and 
hose were worn, the latter were of course the 
long Florentine hose, somewhat like our 
modern tights. In the list of goods fur- 
nished to the colonists in 1628, by the Massa- 
chusetts Bay Company, both are named. 
" 300 peare of stockings w'of 200 pere 
Irish about ri'^or is"* a p. 100 peare of 
knit stockings about 2^ 4'* apr., 200 sutes 
dublett and hose of leather lyned w'th oil'd 
skyn Lether, ye hose & dublett with hookes 
and eyes. 100 sutes of Norden dussens or 
hampheere kersies lyned the hose with 
skyns." The Piscataquay planters had in 
163S " 40 Doz Coarse Hose, 204 Pair 
Stockins, 149 Pair Small Hose," which 
were all, I think, stockings. I judge from 
the number of pair of breeches supplied to 
these Piscataquay settlers that long hose 
were in. 1635 no longer in vogue. 

Gayly colored stockings appear to have 
been worn. We find John Eliot ordering 
"greene & blew Cotton Stockings" in 
165 1. In 1667 a Hartford gentleman had 


Costume of Colonial Times 

sent to him from England a pair " Pinck 
colour' d mens hose " worth a pound, and a 
' ' paire of womens green hose worth thirteen 
shillings, and ten paire mens silke hose." 
Yellow stockings were ordered from England 
in 1660 for one who wished to appear 
irradiated like Malvolio. In 1739 russet 
and green were the favorite colors. By 
Revolutionary times white silk hose were 
worn by modish beaux. 

Cloth stockings, such as Queen Elizabeth 
wore, are frequently named in lists. In 1675 
eighteen dozen sold for ^^14 8s. The Irish 
stockings so often imported must have been 
of cloth or felting, for in New England' s 
First Fruits we read instructions to bring 
over "good Irish stockings, which if they 
are good are much more serviceable than 
knit ones." There appears to have been 
much variety in shape, as well as in 
material. John Usher, writing in 1675 to 
England, says, " your sherrups stockings 
and your turn down stockings are not salable 
here." Judge Sewall orders in 1723, "two 
pair good Knit Worsted Stockings of the 
colour of the inclosed Cloth ; not to roll, 

Costume of Colonial Times 

not Picked Snouts, but Round Toes. Two 
pair of good Mill'd Stockings of a dark 
Colour, round Toes." Roll-up stockings 
were worth lo shillings a pair in 1691. 
" Indean Stockings" were bequeathed. 
They were probably leather leggins. 
Leather stockings were also worn, even by 
such a dignitary as William Penn. 

Stirrup stockings and socks were advertised 
in the Boston News Letter of January 30, 
1 73 1 . Stirrup-hose are described and dra\vn 
by Randle Holme in his note-book, dated 
1658, which is preserved in the British 
Museum. They were very wide at the top — 
two yards wide — and edged with points or 
eyelet holes by which they were made fast 
to the girdle or bag-breeches. Sometimes 
they were allowed to bag down over the 
garter. They are said to have been worn 
on horseback to protect the other garments ; 
but Holme speaks of other hose being worn 
over them. 

" Diced Hose, masqueraded hose, silk 

cloked & chevered hose, Fine four-thread 

Strawbridge knit hose, yarn hose, ribbed 

pointed chivelled worsted hose, Jersey knit 


Costume of Colonial Times 

hose," all were sold in Boston previous to 
1740, showing that "many dispositions of 
hose ' ' were known. 

Hum-hum A plain coarse-meshed Indian 
fabric made of cotton, much advertised in 
the middle of the century. We read of 
' ' blue Humhums ' ' and ' ' Humphumps for 
Sacks ' ' for sale in various Boston news- 
papers, from 1750 to 1770. 

Inkle. A woollen tape or braid formerly 
used by simple folk as a trimming, being 
sewed on in patterns. Autolycus had inkles 
in his pack to sell to the shepherds. John 
Pyncheon charged thirteen pence for "a. 
bunch of Incle " in his Springfield shop in 
165 1. Inkles were sometimes striped. I 
find them advertised till Revolutionary times' 
in New England papers, in this wise : ' ' Rich 
inkle lustring," "striped inkle," "stay 
inkle," etc. In England the name is now 
applied to a broad linen tape. 

IzAVEES. Elizabeth Murray had ' ' Izavees 
for Sacks " in 1752. This may have been 
a New England spelling of Vis-a-vis. 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Jacket. Edward Skinner had a jacket 
in 1641 ; and after 1720 jackets seem to 
have been worn much by servants, for they 
appear in the inventories of the garb of run- 
aways : a swanskin jacket in 1720 ; " dark 
almost black Double Breasted Frieze Jacket ' ' 
in 1720 ; " Pee Double-Breasted Jacket with 
Brass Buttons " in 1730 ; and a " cinnamon- 
coulour'd Jacott " in 1733. Linen jackets 
were worn by southern slaves. 

Jerkin. Strutt says that a jerkin, a jacket, 
and a coat were the same thing. In Mer- 
iton's Clavis, 1697, the compiler says a 
' ' jerkin is a kind of jacket or upper doub- 
let with four skirts or laps." Iri Two Geit- 
tlemen of Verona, act 2, sc. 4, we read, 
" My jerkin is a doublet :" and both names 
appear to have been applied to the same 
garment, and also to a buff-coat. The 
name is not frequently seen in America, even 
in early colonial inventories. Edward Skin- 
ner of Boston had ' ' i Ircken " in 1 64 1 . 
Governor Winthrop had a " two tufted vel- 
vet jerkin." Maryland planters had erkyns. 
It was also spelt jorgen and jergen, and, as in 


Costume of Colonial Times 

old Dutch, jurkken. A jerkinet was a similar 
garment for women's wear. 

Jimp. See Jump. 

Joseph. A name given in tlie eighteenth 
century to a lady's riding habit or great- 
coat buttoned down the front, and with a 
broad cape. It is said to have been named 
in allusion to Joseph's coat of many colors. 
We know that Olivia, in the Vicar of Wake- 
field, was to have her portrait painted 
"dressed in a green Joseph." 

A curious diminutive or degraded form 
of the word and garment was used in the 
Middle States. In the New York Mercury of 
June 1 6, 1760, we read of a runaway maid- 
servant wearing off " peniston Josey," and 
another a "blue and white Cotton Josey." 

JoRGEN. See Jerkin. 

Jump. "A loose stays or waistcoat" 
used in negligee dress. We read in the 
Universal Magazine of 1 780 : 

Now a shape in neat stays, 
■Now a slattern in jumps. 

Costume of Colonial Times 

And again, " Bless me, don't mind my shape 
this bout, I'm only in jumps." In Novem- 
ber, 1754, in the Boston Evening Post 
" Womens and Maids stays and Jumps " ap- 
pear ; and also in New York papers of the 
same date. From the entries in early wills 
of the seventeenth century, it would seem 
that the word "jump " was then applied to 
waistscoats and bodices worn for outer gar- 
ments, not to a loose stays worn as an under- 
garment. Randle Holme describes it as "a 
jacket, jump, or loose coat reaching to the 
thighs. ' ' Jumps were also called jimps and 
may have been derived from jupe. We 
read in Burns, "My ladies jimps and jer- 
kinet." I think our word in modern use, 
jumper, a loose overall jacket, is derived 
from jump. 

Kerchief. See Handkerchief. 


Be thine of Kersey firm though small the cost 
Then-brave unwet the Rain, unchiU'd the Frost. 

Kersey was a firm woollen cloth made of 

long-fibred wool, and was known in Eng- 


Costume of Colonial Times 

land as early as the time of Edward III. 
It was spelt in America in the usual ingen- 
ious assortment of ways, carsey being the 
favorite form. From it were made the gar- 
ments of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower, 
those of the Massachusetts Puritans, the 
Virginian Cavaliers, and the Maine fisher- 
men. In 1640 seven yards of kersey were 
worth j[^\ Zs. By an inventory of one 
Leadlaw in Saco, Me., in 1662, we learn 
it was then and there worth ten shillings a 
yard. By 1692, settler Foxcroft, writing to 
England with regard to future importations 
to the new land, said, " Kerseys & Cource 
Linens are a Drug. ' ' Devonshire carsey is 
mentioned in early wills, and appeared in 
newspaper advertisements from 1704 until 
the latter part of the last century, especially 
in the description of the dress of runaways, 
in the Boston News Letter oi September, 1 704, 
as when an eloping servant wore ' ' Gray home- 
spun Devonshire Kersey breeches," and 
again, when an Indian maid wore off a 
" Kersey Peticote." 

Khantsloper. See Slops. 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Kit-Packs. See Buskin. 

Lace. The word lace was applied in 
early days both to a lacing cord and, as we 
now use it, to an open-work trimming lace. 
A lace was originally the cord that held 
garments in place, and as it was crossed 
backward and forward it formed open-work 
meshes, the protot)qDe of the lace meshes. 
When Sir William Pepperell wrote abroad 
in 1737 for " A gold Lace for a Hat and 
Botten for my Selfe and a Lace for ye knees 
and a paire of Breeches, ' ' he meant probably 
gold cords. 

In 1634 the Massachusetts General Court 
made many rigid laws forbidding the wear- 
ing of "any app'ell either vvollen silke or 
lynnen with any lace on it. Silver, golde, 
silke or thread." These laws did not, how- 
ever, work the desired end ; many women 
and men were prosecuted and fined for wear- 
ing lace, " Ester wife of Joseph Jynkes Jr. 
of Lyn ' ' being among the number. In 
Connecticut a similar law existed. "What 
person soever shall weare gold or silver lace 
or any bone lace above 3 sh a yard, shall be 

Costume of Colonial Times 

assessed at one hundred and fifty pounds 

Bone lace was used by the earliest colo- 
nists — the Pilgrims themselves and the James- 
town settlers, and also in England in the 
sixteenth century. 

The spinsters and the knitters in the sun 
And the free maids that weave their thread with 

Thus wrote Shakespeare in his Twelfth 
Night. Fuller in his Worthies says this 
lace was called bone lace because made with 
bone bobbins ; and he defended its use be- 
cause its material was not expensive, be- 
cause its manufacture employed children and 
infirm persons, and because it saved the 
spending of many thousands of pounds yearly 
by Englishmen for lace in Flanders. 

In the printed notice of the prize of a 
privateersman, in colonial days, we find 
"bone lace," and it was advertised for 
sale for many years in New England news- 
papers — in 1736 in the New England 
Weekly Journal, "Black Bone Lace; " and 
in 1749 in the Boston Independent Adver- 

Costume of Colonial Times 

User. And it was used to trim gowns and 
smocks, and capes, and petticoats, as inven- 
tories show. And industrious New England 
maids. Judge Sewall's daughters among the 
number, were taught to make it on their lace 

New England dames had imported laces 
also to choose from. The portraits of the 
times show many frills and collars of various 
laces. In 1712 " Gymp'r Lace" was im- 
ported, worth twelve shillings a yard. It 
was also called "Gimp Lace." "Dutch 
Lace, Blond Lace, Black Silk Lace ' ' came 
next. In 1727 came "Fine Mechlon Silk 
Laces & Edgings ; ' ' while Magdalen Wroe 
had Machlin Lace. " Scarlet & Crimson 
Silk Lace with Mantle Tossels ' ' were adver- 
tised in the New England Weekly Journal 
in 1736. Flanders lace came frequently, 
and snail laces. Campane lace, a very 
narrow pillow lace used as an edge, was, I 
suppose, campaign lace. It was made in 
gold and colored silk as well as in white. 
Blown lace was the comm'onest of all. 

Colverteen, also spelt golbertaine, coller- 
tine, collertain, and colbertine, was a lace 

Costume of Colonial Times 

with square meshes, so called from Louis 
XIV. 's minister, Colbert, who promoted' the 
lace industry. It was used to trim bands 
and caps. We read in Swift's Baucis and 
Philemon of ' ' goqd pinners edged with 
colberteen." Curiously enough the name 
was not used in France. In 1755 Bath lace, 
Mechlin, " bonseel," Flanders, Brussels, 
minott, coxcomb, ' ' traly, " " taste, ' ' blond 
and bone laces were all imported. Traly or 
trolley lace was made in Devon.shire. It 
had a double ground of hexagonal and tri- 
angular meshes. The pattern was outlined 
with a heavier thread. Minott, or minuet, 
or minuit, or mignonette lace was a narrow 
bobbin lace resembling tulle, or our modern 
footing; it was made chiefly at Arras and 
Lille. Five years later "thread inlet," 
" cheveau du friz " (which I think was fly- 
fringe) and "spider" laces were imported. 
It is impossible to definitely describe these 
laces. Mrs. Bary-Palliser's book on laces 
gives some information. They were doubt- 
less much like our hand-made laces of the 
present day ; our blond, Mechlin, thread, 
and Brussels laces. 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Gold and silver laces were worn by men, 
and occasionally lace-edged ruffles at the 
shirt front and wrists, and a few lace-edged 
cravats were seen in Virginia ; but ' ' true 
New England men ' ' and Quakers followed 
no extreme cavalier fashions, nor did the 
Dutch. See Net. 

Lappet. The lace pendant of a lady's 
cap or head-dress. Horace Walpole called 
them "unmeaning pendants." In the Bos- 
ton Gazette of November 13, 1750, we read 
of ' ' Lappitt Heeds, ' ' and in the Boston Even- 
ing Post of September, 1758, Jane Eustis 
advertised "Blown Lace Lappet Heads." 
In 1772 came "Very Neat Flanders and 
Brussels Lappet Heads." In many of the 
portraits of the times we see long lace lappets 
on the caps. 

Lellokans. See Pins. 

Lend. A thin gauzy linen made in imita- 
tion of muslin, and much used for caps and 
head-dresses a hundred years ago. 

Levite. Lady Cathcart — an American 

Costume of Colonial Times 

by birth — writing to her aunt in 1781, gave 
thus the London fashions : 

They wear for morning a white poloneze or a 
dress they call a Levete, which is a kind of gown 
and Peticote with long sleeves made with scarcely 
any pique in the back, and worn with a sash tyed on 
the left side. They make these in winter of white- 
dimity, and in Summer of Muslin with Chints bor- 

This explains the advertisements in the 
Boston Evening Post of 1783, of " callicoes 
for Levites." 

The levite was originally a long straight 
frock-coat somewhat like that worn by a 
priest. Horace Walpole satirized it as re- 
sembling "a man's nightgown tied round 
with a belt." The robe-levite imitated it 
with a train added. A "monkey-tailed 
levite ' ' had a curiously twisted train, and 
was a French fashion. In the translation, by 
Mrs. Cashel Hoey, of Robida's Ten Cen- 
turies of Toilette there is shown on page 177a 
levite robe — and a very modish-looking gar- 
ment it is. The word Levite, like the robe, 
is now obsolete. 

LiLLiKiNS. See Pins. 


Costume of Colonial Times 

LiRiPiPES. Pendent streamers to a hood 
or head-dress, often long enough to hang to 
the feet. These liripipes were of gauze or rib- 
bons and were not used as strings, but were 
simply ornamental. Also spelt l)T:ipups and 
lerrypups. The word was derived from liri- 
pifium, a hood of a particular form formerly 
worn by graduates. See Lappet. 

Lockets. Michael Wigglesworth, author 
of the dreadful Day of Doom was a warm 
lover ; he gave to his third wife, while he 
was wooing her, a dainty little heart-shaped 
locket, which is still owned by one of his 
descendants. Other colonists owned these 
pretty trinkets ; John Oxenbridge had two. 
The widow of Colonel Livingstone, of New 
London, had a " stone drop for the neck and 
a red stone for a locket." "Stone heart 
lockets for hair sett in gold ' ' were adver- 
tised in 1762, and "mocus lockets" and 
"silvered lockets." Lockets were worn on 
both the arm and the neck. 

LoRETTO. A silk material much used for 
fine waistcoats in 1767. 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Lustring. A soft plain silk universally 
worn. It was neither corded nor figured nor 
had it a satin surface. We find Judge Sew- 
all, writing to England in 1697, for "forty 
yards of Flower' d Lustring not to exceed 
5 sh per yard," for petticoats, and also for 
silk fringe to trim these lustring petticoats. 
Thomas Amory, writing to England in 1721, 
said " Lutstrings are staple commodities." 
The fashionable colors in lustrings in 1783 
were, " Plumb, Pink, Flystale, Cinnamon, 
and Laylock, ' ' so said the Newport Mercury. 
The name appears till the middle of this 
century in common use. 

Mandillion. a man's garment some- 
thing of the nature of a doublet and also 
spelt mandilian. It was first worn in France 
in the sixteenth century, and was for many 
years a soldier's wear, and was frequently 
sleeveless. Chapman, in his translation of 
the Iliad, writes thus of a mandillion : — 

About him a mandillion that did with buttons 

Of purple, large, and full of folds, curl'd with a 

warmful nap. 


Costume of Colonial Times 

Mandillions were among the articles of cloth- 
ing given to each Bay and Piscataquay 

The mandillions of the New England col- 
onists were fastened with hooks and eyes, 
and lined with cotton. 

Manteau. See Mantua. 
Mantelet. See Mantle. 
Manto. See Mantua. 

Mantle. In 1662 Mary Lake, of Ips- 
wich, had a scarlet mantle appraised at ^^i^. 
Penelope Winslow, the wife of the governor 
of Plymouth Plantations, had her portrait 
painted at about that date in a similar scar- 
let mantle. In the New England Weekly 
Journal, of 1739 we read of the sale of 
" Manteels," and in 1743, in the Boston 
News Letter, that " Ladies may have their 
Mantelets made." The words mantle and 
mantelet were closely akin to the word 
mantua, q. v. 

Mantua. Originally a gown or sacque 
open to display the petticoat ; then the out- 

Costume of Colonial Times 

er mantle or cape, and finally a stuff for the 
making of mantuas. So universal was the 
wear of mantuas that they gave their name 
to the maker of cloaks — a mantua-maker. 
Silks for mantues, manteaus, and mantuas 
appear in all the eighteenth century news- 
papers. In the Boston News Letter of 
April 5, 1729, we read of the setting-up of a 
milliner who ' ' designed the making of Man- 
tos and Riding Dresses." In 1741 came 
yellow mantua silk. In 1755 Ehzabeth 
Murray had ' ' Enamelled Mantuas ' ' for sale. 

Marcasite. Marcasite, spelled also mar- 
cassite, marchasite, marquesett, or mar- 
quaset, was a mineral, the crystallized form 
of iron pyrites. It was largely used in the 
eighteenth century for various ornamental 
purposes, chiefly in the decoration of the 
person. It could be readily polished, and 
when cut in facets like a rose-diamond, formed 
a pretty material for shoe and knee buckles, 
ear-rings, rings, pins, and hair ornaments. 
Scarce a single advertisement of wares of 
milliner or mantua-maker can be found in 
eighteenth century newspapers, that does not 

Costume of Colonial Times 

contain (in some form of spelling) the word 
marcasite, and scarce a rich gown or 
head-dress was seen without some ornament 
of marcasite. 

Masks. For many years the fair colo- 
nists, Quakers, Huguenots, and Puritans, had 
a fashion of wearing "sun-expelling masks," 
to protect the complexion against the wind, 
sun, and cold. Children wore them also. 
George Washington sent abroad for masks 
for his wife and for his little step-daughter, 
"Miss Custisj" and " childrens masks" 
are often named in bills of sale. Loo- 
masks were small half masks and were also 
imported. Sometimes these masks were held 
in the hand; but riding masks were often 
fitted with a silver mouthpiece, by which the 
close-set lips or teeth of the wearer could 
hold the protecting mask in place, since her 
hands were otherwise occupied with the reins 
or holding herself on the pillion. Some- 
times, following an old-time French fashion, 
the mask had fastened to the mouth-opening 
two short silken strings with a silver bead or 
button at the end of each. With a bead 


Costume of Colonial Times 

placed in either corner of her mouth, the 
mask wearer could talk and still hold her 
mask firmly in place. For a while it was 
fashionable to wear the mask or vizard hang- 
ing by a ribbon or cord at the side. In 
1645 masks were forbidden to be worn in 
Plymouth, Mass., for " improper purposes," 
and I have puzzled long over what those im- 
proper purposes could have been in that staid, 
pious, and small community. In 1654 one 
Burril, of I^ynn, mentioned two masks in 
his inventory of property. In the following 
year one dozen black velvet masks were in- 
ventoried as worth ^i 4s. As early as 1685 
New York dames had masks, and they were 
sent to the South Carolina settlers. In 1729 
they were advertised for sale in Philadelphia. 
For many years all invoices of English goods 
exported to America contained masks. From 
1760 to 1790 they were mentioned in almost 
every list of goods offered to New England 
shoppers, and must have been universally 
worn. They were of black velvet, white 
silk, green silk, and "natural coloured," 
which latter kind must have been specially 
disfiguring and ugly. 


Costume of Colonial Times 

Match-Coat. The definition given two 
centuries ago by Governor Beverley of Vir- 
ginia was this : 

The proper Indian matchcoat is made of skins 
dressed with the fur or sewed together. The Duf- 
field matchcoat is bought of the English. 

The name match-cloth was given to a coarse 
woollen cloth used for these coats, but duffels 
were chiefly employed in their manufacture. 
The derivation of the word seems uncertain. 
In Baroga's Chippewa Dictionary the word 
matchigode is given for petticoat. 

Mercury. A mercury was a cap or 
head-dress for women's wear, often mentioned 
in public sales. From the Boston Evening 
Post, of 1760 and 1761, we gain an idea of 
the materials used in these mercuries — gauze, 
net, trolly, beads, bugles, lace, etc. 

MiLLY. The name of a color which ap- 
parently was nearly meal-colored. I have 
often read of milly, tuly, and murry woollens 
being ordered. 

Minikins. See Pins. 


Costume of Colonial Times 

Mittens. Wadmoll mittens were among 
the supplies furnished to the Bay planters. 
Knit mittens and those made of heavy cloth 
and fur were constantly worn. We read of 
runaways wearing off " jarning " and " yarn 
mittens. ' ' The knitting of mittens was for 
many years a lucrative household industry, 
and much ingenuity was displayed in the 
various ornamental stitches employed and 
pride in the short time employed in knitting. 
Many girls could knit a pair of double mit- 
tens in a day. Thrummed mittens were 
knit from the thrums of wool, and were 
much cheaper. Mittens were also made of 
heavy cloth, and of the skins of various ani- 

Mitts. Little fingerless gloves were for 
many years much worn and went by the name 
of mitts. They were made of kid or silk 
and frequently of open lace-work, and were 
a favorite summer wear. We find them ad- 
vertised in the Boston Evening Post, of 
November, 1750, of various gay colors — 
pink, blue, and yellow, which were probably 
for evening wear. I have seen old mitts of 

Costume of Colonial Times 

woven silk with liandsome medallions of 
lace set in on the back of the hand. A cu- 
rious kind of mitts was worn just after the 
Revolution. Fingerless covers, like sleeves, 
for the arms, with a short separate thumb 
covering, but no finger divisions, were made 
of cotton or linen material like the dress, and 
were freshly starched and ironed for Sunday- 
wear. They were buttoned to the shoulder 
of the dress. Such mitts were often made of 
yellow nankeen to wear with a short-sleeved 
nankeen gown. I think the " Womens & 
girls Jane and Linen Mitts" and "White 
Holland Gloves," which were advertised in 
Boston in 1784, must have been these un- 
comfortable sleeve - mitts. And when the 
wife of Colonel John May, of Boston, wrote 
in her diary on June 5, 1789, " Cut my girls 
gloves, set them to work, and left them to 
take care of the house," the gloves named 
doubtless were these linen mitts. 

Mob. See Cap. 

Mocus, Mocus, mocho, morko, or mo- 
chu was what is now known as moss-agate or 

Costume of Colonial Times 

dendritic agate. Tliese " mocuses " were 
vastly modish in England in Queen Anne's 
day, set in rings, seals, brooches, buckles, and 
necklaces and were in high fashion in the 
colonies. I find them largely advertised in 
New York and Pennsylvania newspapers. 

Modesty-Piece. Addison thus describes 
it: "A narrow lace which runs along the 
upper part of the stays before, being a part 
of the tucker, is called the modesty-piece. ' ' 
It was also called modesty-bit. See Gorget 
and Stomacher. 

Monmouth Cap. See Cap. 


Muff. Muffs are said, by some English 
authorities, to have been introduced into 
England in the reign of Charles II. This 
is obviously incorrect, since Thomas Culla- 
more, of St. Marys, Maryland, had a muff 
in 1638, and Alice Ferrance of Boston left 
a " muffe " by will in 1656, and Jane 
Humphreys of Dorchester one with a winter 
hood in 1668. Judge Sewall bought, in Eng- 

Costume of Colonial Times 

land, muffs of Yarman Serge, and four other 
" good muffs " that he bought for his family 
— his wife and daughters — cost £^2 6s. He 
also ordered muffs from abroad at later 
dates. Cloth as well as fur muffs were 
made. The Connecticut Courant had this 
startling advertisement. " Ladies will ob- 
tain muffs much cheaper by bringing their 
own skins." A few of the different ma- 
terials that I have noted in advertisements 
are here named : " Martin Muffs & Tip- 
pits," "New Feather'd Muffs," "Swan 
feather' d muffs," "Blue & colored velvet 
muffs," " Mouse colour' d muffs of a peculiar 
kind ; ' ' which were apparently all for wom- 
en's wear. Muffs grew to an enormous size 
and were carried for many years by both 
men and women. On March 5, 1715, the 
Boston News Letter contained this adver- 
tisement : 

Any man that took up a Mans Muff drop't on the 
Lords Day between the Old Meeting House & the 
South are desired to bring it to the Printers Office 
and shall be rewarded. 

In 1725, Dr. Prince lost his "black bear- 
skin muff," and in 1740 a " sable-skin mans 

Costume of Colonial Times 

muff" was advertised. In this, as in other 
fashions, New England beaux followed the 
lead of English dandies. Many diaries and 
letters — such as those of Horace Walpole — 
show the prevalence of the fashion of ' ' mans 
muffs " in England. I can easily fancy the 
mincing face of Horace Walpole peering out 
of a carriage window or a sedan chair, with 
his hands and wrists thrust in a great muff ; 
but when I look at the severe and ascetic 
countenance in the portrait of Thomas Prince 
I find it hard to think of him, walking 
solemnly along Boston streets, carrying his 
big bear -skin muff. Other Bostonians fol- 
lowed the fashion until a much later date — 
Judge Dana until after Revolutionary times. 
In New York Rene Hett had several muffs 
which he left by will in 1783. 

MuFFETEES. Muffetecs were what we 
would now call wristlets, and were worn by 
men, and possibly by women. The sleeves 
of men's coats were made very short in 
order to display fine lace or lawn wrist 
ruffles. Hence the wrists were thinly clad 
and much exposed to the cold. Long gloves 

Costume of Colonial Times 

with gauntlets were worn for protection, and 
muffetees. These were of fur or woollen. 
In the Boston Gazette and Weekly Journal 
of November, 1749, "Men's fine Worsted 
Gloves and Muffetees ' ' were offered for 
sale; and in the same paper, in 1755, 
" white black and colour' d Muffetees " were 
advertised. They were also knit of yarn. 

MuRRY. A reddish purple color — mul- 
berry color. The livery colors of the house 
of York were murry and blue. I have often 
seen the word murry in lists of merchandise 
of early colonial days. It was a favorite 
color for the garments of respectable elderly 

Nabobs. Eliza Southgate Bowne, writ- 
ing in 1803 of the fashions, says "silk na- 
bobs plaided, colored, and white, are much 
worn." In other letters of ten years earlier 
date we read of nabobs for women's wear, 
but with no definite descriptions thereof; 
and any such signification of the word is not 
given in our dictionaries. Nabobs were 
probably a thin East Indian stuff. 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Nankeens. Fairholt says nankeens were 
introduced into America, in 1825, from 
Sicily. His statement is absurdly incorrect, 
for I find them advertised for sale in the 
Charleston Gazette (S. C.) as early as May 
7, 1744, and in 1761 in the Boston Even- 
ing Post, and read also of runaway slaves 
wearing nankeen breeches in 1769. George 
Washington bought them in large quantities 
as early as 1769. By 1780 they were a vast- 
ly important article of commerce in the In- 
dia trade, and their price was almost a stand- 
ard of exchange. They were used by all 
classes and both sexes for all variety of outer 
gear for both summer and winter wear, but 
must have proved rather chilly attire by 
Christmas-tide. The name is given froni the 
place of manufacture, Nanking, in China, 
and the peculiar buff color is the natural tint 
of the cotton of which the nankeens are 

Neck-cloth. Jane Humphreys, of Dor- 
chester, Mass., owned in 1668, "A black 
sike (quilled) Neckcloath, a Black Stufife 
Neck Cloath, and a Callico Vnder Neck 


Costume of Colonial Times 

, Cloath. ' ' Other colonists had speckled neck- 
cloths, lawn and silesia neck-cloths. Men 
and women both wore them. They were 
also called neck-clothes, neckerchiefs, neck- 
ingers, and neckatees. 

Necklace. When the venerable Judge 
Sewall was courting Madam Winthrop for his 
third wife, he ingratiatingly asked her what 
kind of a " Neck-Lace " he should bring her, 
showing that these trinkets were then fashion- 
able and plentiful — and presumably low- 
priced (as were all the Judge's gifts), as well 
as proving them a true lover's token. In 
England, at the same date, Madam Pepys 
had "pitched upon a necklace with three 
rows of pearls which is a very good one, and 
so is the price. ' ' From early advertisements 
in the Boston News Letter, we learn some- 
thing of the fashion of the necklaces of those 
days. In June, 1 712, a " White Stone fine- 
cut Necklace set in Silver " was lost — only 
two shillings reward was offered. In the 
Boston Evening Post of March 8, 1736, there 
was advertised "A spangled Gold Chain, 
three strings with a large Gold Locket hav- 

Costume of Colonial Times 

ing Abigail Andrews wrote upon it. ' ' ^^^5 
reward was offered for their recovery. In 
New York richer neclilaces were worn, single 
and triple strings of pearls. 

In 1753 we find "French and Solitair 
Necklaces," " light blue pendalls and Neck- 
laces, " " Pink and White Pearl colored 
Necklaces;" and by 176 1 "Purple, green 
and black necklaces with spreaders. ' ' The 
latter must have been uncommonly ugly and 
were probably made of beads or bugles, and 
formed an esdavage or festooned necklace — 
a French fashion introduced in 1760. In 
1771, J. Coolidge, Jr., had for sale in Bos- 
ton ' ' Necklaces, sprigs, solitairs and pends 
set with marquasetts. ' ' Many early portraits 
show necklaces, usually simple strings of 
beads, the latter frequently of gold. Many 
New England wives at a later date placed 
their hard-earned savings, their " egg and 
yarn money," in the portable, safe and 
easily salable shape of gold beads. In the 
diary of Abigail Kellond, kept from 1685 to 
1730, she frequently enters the number of 
" goold beads" on her and her daughter's 
necklaces. The latter had fifty-two in 1686, 

Costume of Colonfal Times 

and thirty years later she had ninety-nine 
beads. Madam Kellond herself had one hun- 
dred and four beads. 


The stock with buckle made of paste 
Has put the cravat out of date, 

wrote Whyte in 1742. The stock, a made- 
up, stiffly folded cravat or neck-cloth, with 
a metal spring attached to keep it in place 
when on the neck, is not wholly obsolete at 
the present day, though wholly old-fashioned 
and bucolic. 

In 1743, in the Boston News Letter, two 
neck -stocks were advertised as lost ; and in 
1764 in the Boston Evening Post ^e find 
mention of "Stock-Tapes" and "Newest 
fashion' d plaited Stocks." In the Connecti- 
cut Courant, of May i, 1773, and in New 
York journals we find silver plated and pinch- 
beck stock buckles " cypher' d and plain." 
These buckles were originally set as an orna- 
ment in the front of the stock, but in later 
days the stock was fastened on one side by 
a strong unornamented buckle, or by two 
small buckles and straps. 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Negligee. A loose, full gown, open in 
front, which Fairholt says was introduced 
about 1757. I find in the Boston Evening 
/■(jj-/ of November, 1755, "Horsehair Quilt- 
ed Coats to wear with Negligees, ' ' and they 
must have been fashionable at an earlier date 
in England than Fairholt stated. A poem 
printed in New York in 1756 has these lines : 

Put on her a Shepherdee 
A short sack or Negligee 
Ruffled high to keep her warm 
Eight or ten about an arm. 

In spite of the signification of the name, 
a negligee was worn in full dress. Abigail 
Adams, writing to Mrs. Storer in 1785, said : 
"Trimming is reserved for full dress only, 
when very large hoops and negligees with 
trains three yards long are worn. ' ' We find 
Benjamin Franklin sending home materials 
for negligees for his Deborah in 1765. 

Net. Though we still have various ma- 
chine-made nets, we have no such variety as 
were advertised a century ago, and which 
seem to have been frequently a fine gauze, 
rather than an open-meshed net. Some of 

Costume of Colonial Times 

the curious names were: picket or piquet 
net, whip-net, male or meal net, drop-net, 
spider net, balloon-net, warp-net, point-net, 
Paris net, bobbin-net, dress-net, tindress- 
net, patent or pattern net, lace-net, dressed 
net, queens net, queens fancy net, caul-net. 
All these were used in the manufacture of 
caps, scarfs, and head-dresses, and for furbe- 
lows for gowns — some of them for the entire 
gown. See Lace. 

Nightcap. Everyone — men, women, and 
children — wore nightcaps as part of the 
sleeping attire, until modern times. When 
the Governor of Acadia sent to the govern- 
ment of Massachusetts the list of goods stolen 
from him by " Mr. Phips " he named " 4 
nightcaps with lace edge ; 8 nightcaps 
without lace." Men at one time wore 
nightcaps in day-time as part of a negligee 
costume. I have seen ancient colored silk 
nightcaps richly embroidered in colors and 
gold and silver. 

Night-gown. The early signification of 
the word night-gown was much the meaning 

Costume of Colonial Times 

applied at present to the word dressing-gown. 
It was not a garment worn when sleeping. 
We have a very good description of a night- 
gown from the pen of the old Duchess of 
Marlborough, who ordered such a garment 
from Paris : 

A Night-gown easy and warm, with a light silk 
wadd in it, such as are used to come out of bed and 
gird round, without any train at all, but very full. 
Tis no matter what color, except pink or yellow — 
no gold or silver in it ; but some pretty striped satin 
or damask, lined with a tafetty of the same color. 

When Madam Usher died in Boston in 
1725, her wardrobe was sent to her daughter 
in London. It contained one satin and one 
silk night-gown, but the night rails were of 
linen. Men had velvet night-gowns with 
caps to match of the same material, and 
fustian night-gowns also. In the Boston 
Evening Post, in 1760, " Men's velvet Night 
gown Caps " are advertised. In 1754 a law 
was passed by the Corporation of Harvard 
College that no student should " wear any 
silk night-gowns as being not only an un- 
necessary expense but inconsistent with the 

Costume of Colonial Times 

gravity and demeanor proper to be observed. ' ' 
A letter written to the New England Weekly 
Journal, in 1727, speaks of a merchant sit- 
ting " in his Counting-house ^vrap't up in a 
Callimanco Night-gown. ' ' See Rail. 

None-so-Prettys. About the year 1770 
there began to appear in all the New Eng- 
land newspapers advertisements of " None- 
so-Prettys. ' ' The name was in the motley 
list which was characteristic of the times, 
and which gave no clew to the character 
of the articles offered ; hence " None-so- 
Prettys ' ' might be ladies' caps, or snuff- 
boxes, or tailors' goods. Nor do American 
or English dictionaries even now define the 
word. But William Scott, of the Irish 
linen store in Boston, advertised in July, 
1 77 1, " None - so - Pretty Tapes," and in 
September, 1772, the Boston Evening Post 
contained a notice of the sale of ' ' Blue & 
white, Red & white, Green & white Furni- 
ture checks with None-so-Prettys to match ; ' ' 
so it is plain that None-so-Prettys were tapes. 
In a little story and a half brick shop in 
Wickford, R. I., which retained, until 1886, 


Costume of Colonial Times 

all the goods and ways of a village shop of 
the early part of the century, there was dis- 
played, among boxes of half-melted, coherent 
red wafers, sheets of fly-specked foolscap 
paper, strings of purple and white beads, 
cakes of adamantine beeswax, brass tailors' 
thimbles, sailors' "palms," and other relics 
of past decades, a box labelled " None- 
so-Prettys." These were rolls of strong 
brown linen braid about three-quarters of 
an inch wide, with little woven figures, white, 
red, or black dots or diamonds. And from 
their faded, aged appearance, these None-so- 
Pretty survivors might well have been cen- 
tenarians from the original stock of William 
Scott in 1771. 

OzNAEURG. A linen spelled ozenbridge, 
ossenbrigs, osnabrug, originally made at 
Osnabriick, Hanover, and universally used 
for shirts, breeches, and jackets. In the 
Boston News Letter of June 19, 1704, we 
read of a runaway slave's wearing off " Brown 
Ozenbridge Jacket and Breeches." A large 
item of value in Sir William Pepperell's or- 
ders to England were ' ' peeces of Ossen- 

Costume of Colonial Times 

brigs." In ^e Connecticut Courant oi T)e.- 
cember ii, 1775, Mary Jehonet advertised 
' ' Oznabrigs ' ' for sale. To the Southern 
colonies it was sent in vast bales, and was 
used for garments for the slaves. We often 
find George Washington writing for " ozen- 

Orrice. a kind of lace or gimp trim- 
ming woven with gold and silver thread. 
It was widely used in the seventeenth cen- 
tury as a trimming for handsome sacques 
and petticoats. The name was applied at a 
later date to upholstery gimps, especially for 
those used for saddle trimmings. 

Paduasoy. a rich silk of smooth sur- 
face, originally made at Padua. " The 
Best Sort Dutch Paduasoys ' ' were adver- 
tised in the Boston News Letter in 1727, 
and in other newspapers till the end of the 
century. It was much used for handsome 
garments for men and women. We find 
Governor Belcher writing in 1732 to his 
London tailor, " One suit to be a very good 
silk. I have sometimes thought a rich dam- 

Costume of Colonial Times 

ask would do well, or some thick silk, but 
I don't like padisway." 

Paragon. A stuff, plain or embroid- 
ered, used for common wear in the seven- 
teenth century. Madam Pepys had a para- 
gon petticoat in 1659. One of the colonists 
left a " paragon coat," and one of the Salem 
witches wore a ' ' red paragon bodice. ' ' It 
was the wear of country folk. We read, 

Give me a lass that's country bred 

With paragon gown ; straw hat on her head. 

Partlet. a sort of neckerchief or neck- 
covering for women's wear, which some- 
times was made full like a shirt and worn 
under a bodice. The edge around the 
throat was frequently plaited or ruffled. 
We read in Beaumont and Fletcher's 
Knight of Malta, 

Unfledge 'em of their tires, 
Their wires, their partlets, pins and periwigs. 

The name is seen but rarely in early colo- 
nial inventories. 

Patches. In the Boston Gazette and 
Weekly Journal, of 1775, " Gum Patches " 

Costume of Colonial Times 

were advertised, and after 1760 "Face 
Patches" and "Patches for Ladies" ap- 
pear with such frequency that we can be- 
lieve patched faces were as common among 
Boston, New York, and Philadelphia belles, 
as with fashionable London court dames. 
Whitefield wrote bitterly and indignantly of 
the jewels, patches, and gay apparel worn by 
New England women. Still I have seen no 
portraits of New Englanders wearing patches. 

Patch Box. With all the advertisements 
of face patches, there could not fail to be 
notices of the sale of patch boxes. The 
earliest appears in the Boston Evening Post 
of July 17, 1763. A few of these patch 
boxes have been preserved to us — oval or 
round boxes about an inch and a half or two 
inches in diameter — pretty little trinkets of 
Battersea enamel on brass, or of china me- 
dallions set in silver gilt, or of tortoise shell 
and silver ; always with a tiny mirror or disk 
of pohshed steel set within the lid, that in it 
the fair and vain owner might peep to place 
or rearrange her becoming patches. Fre- 
quently they bear on the top little posies : 

Costume of Colonial Times 

"For Beauty's Face," "To the Fairest of 
her Sex," " When Virtue joins, Fair Beauty- 
shines." One I have has the sensible ad- 
vice, "Have Communion with Few, Be 
Familiar with One, Deal Justly with All^ 
Speak Evil of None." Another thus re- 
proves, "Vanity's a Vice — a foe to Virtue." 
Sometimes they have the likeness of a 
mincing French beauty or a scene with a tiny 
shepherdess, or a little design of dots and 
rings, or festoons, and a basket of flowers, or 
two hearts with a connecting arrow, but more 
frequently a verse or posy. These patch boxes 
are among the daintiest relics of olden times. 


The Patten now supports each frugal Dame 
That from the blue-eyed Patty takes the name. 

— Trivia. 

Fairholt says that modern patteiis date 
their origin to the time of Queen Anne. I 
find Sewall, in the time of William and Mary, 
referring to his wife's slipping and falling, 
through her being on pattens ; and Ben Jon- 
son says, " You make no more haste than a 
beggar upon pattens." 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Pattens were iron rings four or five inches 
in diameter supporting, by two or three at- 
tached uprights, a sole of wood to be fastened 
to the foot by leather straps. 

Though Dickens speaks in David Copper- 
field oi " women going chcking about in pat- 
tens," and in Cranford we read of their 
wear, in New England they certainly were 
not frequently worn in this century and I 
have never found a pair of pattens in any old 
New England home. In the Boston News 
Letters, of 1721 and 1732, "womens and 
childrens pattoons" were often advertised, 
and similar notices appear in the newspapers 
until Revolutionary times. See Clogs and 


Peak. From the connection with sur- 
rounding items in advertisements, peaks 
would appear to be pointed caps for chil- 
dren's wear; but no such definition is as- 
signed in any dictionary. This is hardly a 
safe inference to draw from the notices in 
colonial papers, for most heterogeneous and 
incongruous elements go to form a whole ; 
and peaks might be toys or books or gowns 

Costume of Colonial Times 

or shoes. In 1737, Sept. 29, in the JVew 
England Weekly Journal appeared, "Chil- 
dren's Quilted Peaks drawn & work'd; " in 
the Boston News Letter in 1736, "Chil- 
dren's Silver Peaks & Flowers, Dutch Pret- 
tys; " and in 1740 a similar advertisement. 

Pelerine. The derivation given is from 
pelerin, a pilgrim. It seems much more 
probable that it is from pelured, meaning be- 
furred. It was a lady's small cape with long 
ends hanging in front, and was invented to 
cover the necks bared by the low-cut French 
bodices. In 1743, in the Boston News Let- 
ter, Henrietta Maria East advertised that 
"Ladies may have their Pellerines made" 
at her mantua-making shop. In 1749 " pel- 
lerines ' ' were advertised for sale in the Bos- 
ton Gazette and a black velvet ' ' pillerine ' ' 
was lost. In the New York papers it was 
usually spelt pillareen. They are said to 
have been invented in 167 1 in France by the 
Princess Palatine. 

Penistone. This was spelt pennystone, 
peneston, penystones, penstow, penesstons, 

Costume of Colonial Times 

penston, and the goods were also called 
" Forest Whites." It was a coarse woollen 
stuff or frieze made in England in the seven- 
teenth and eighteenth centuries and was 
much used for coarse garments by the ear- 
liest planters. Anne Leverett, of Boston, who 
died in 1656, bequeathed a " Read pennisto 
petticoat" to her heirs. In 1659 another 
Boston dame bequeathed to each of her 
grandchildren forty shillings " in kersey 
peniston and cotton." Hull, writing abroad 
in 1672, asks for " red penystoneand flannel, 
no such red cloth as you sent me. ' ' I find the 
name used till 1780 especially in the South, 
and very frequently specified as red, and at 
other times evidently applied to red flannel. 

Periwig. See Wig. 

Perpetuana. More frequently spelt 
" ppetuna." A glossy woollen stuff deriving 
its name, like sempiternum and lasting, from 
its alleged durable nature. It much re- 
sembled the latter named fabric. Bradford 
in his Plymouth Plantation wrote, " They 
had diverse kinds as cloth perpetuanes and 

Costume of Colonial Times 

other stuffs." We find, by a letter of Gover- 
nor Endicott's, that twelve yards of red ppet- 
una were worth sixteen shillings in 1 6 2 9. In 
the Boston News Letter of October 12, 1 7 1 1 , 
' ' Perpets ' ' were advertised, which were 
also perpetuana. 

Persian. A thin silk chiefly used for 
cloak and hood linings, and for facings for 
other garments, or for summer wear. In 
1737 Sir William Pepperell ordered from 
England several ' ' ps Blue and Red Per- 
sian." It was offered for sale in New Eng- 
land newspapers throughout the eighteenth 
century. The only mention made by Judge 
Sewall of his wife's attire is when he speaks 
of her attending church, clad in her " gown 
of Sprig'd Persian." 

Peruke. See Wig. 

Petticoat.. This word was originally 
petty-coat, literally a small coat. In a 
tailor's bill are these items : 

To new plaiting a petty Coat, \s. td. 
" sewing " " " ts. 

Judge Sewall wrote it " Petit Coats." 


Costume of Colonial Times 

Of course this world-wide worn garment 
was donned in earliest colonial days, and the 
name appears in every list and inventory of 
feminine belongings. "Red Tamminy and 
Moehaire petticotes ' ' had Martha Emmons 
of Boston, in 1666. Susannah Oxenbridge, 
wife of the wealthy Boston minister, had 
them of richer material — ' ' changeable 
silke," "Finest tufted Holland," and 
' ' Blacke Cloth. ' ' Elizabeth Gedney had no 
less than thirteen petticoats ; and Dutch 
dames counted their petticoats their richest 
belonging. I have seen the inventory of 
one Dutch woman's wardrobe that contained 
sixteen petticoats. 

Quilted silk petticoats appeared for sale 
about 1720. "Women's Sarsnet Quilted 
Patticoats 4 yards wide, Persian and Taminy 
Ditto." " Long & Short Bone Hoop petti- 
coats ' ' are advertised in the Boston Evening 

Fostoi 11SZ- 

Of course when the open sacques, negli- 
gees and poloneses were so much worn, 
and the petticoat was consequently so ex- 
posed to view, it became a most important 
and costly article of attire, was furbelowed, 

Costume of Colonial Times 

fringed, festooned, puffed, looped, rosetted, 
flowered, laced, and quilted in a hundred 
different fashions, and was made of every 
rich material. 

Philomot. See Filomot. 

Pilgrim. A cape or plaiting of thin silk 
affixed to the back of a bonnet to shield the 
wearer's neck when out of doors. It was in 
use from 1760 to 1770. 

Pincushion. Many newspapers contain 
notices of the sale of " pincushion hoops and 
chains. ' ' Usually they are printed in com- 
pany with those of etuis or equipages, and I 
hence infer that ladies wore these swinging 
pincushions at their sides as a part of their 
chatelaines. These chains were of steel and 
silver. Dutch housewives constantly wore 

Pins. The Pilgrim mothers brought over 

pins in the Mayflower, but not in lavish 

numbers. I find at a very early date that a 

woman was excommunicated for "suspitions 


Costume of Colonial Times 

of stealing pinnes;" and in 1643 "Will 
Fancies wife ' ' was tried in New Haven for 
stealing five thousand pins. Pins were worth 
at that time is. ^d. a thousand. We know, 
too, what important instruments they proved 
in the tragedy known as the Salem Witch- 
craft. Henry M. Brooks, Esq., of the Essex 
Institute in Salem, has made a collection of 
pins taken from old documents and letters 
of past centuries. He has some which date 
positively to within a few years of the time 
of Salem witches, and may be quite as old 
as Ann Putnam's and Giles Corey's day. 
' ' Finns ' ' were sent to John Eliot by the 
Corporation in England in 1651. In the 
Boston News Letter of October, 1 7 1 1 , pins 
were advertised for sale. , In the same pub- 
lication of May 6, 1717, appeared this ad- 
vertisement of what was apparently a Boston 
pinmaker, "All softs of Pins also Black 
Pins for Mourning Either by Wholesale or 
Retail. Brass Wire Large & Small. Also 
any Person that has brass wire may have 
money for it." In 1737 Sir William Pep- 
perell sent to England for " 40 shillings in 
Pinnes of Different Sizes." In 1738 Ebe- 


Costume of Colonial Times 

nezer Waldo advertised that he " made' and 
sold choice Pins of all Sorts for ready money 
at lowest prices." In 1744 they came " as- 
sorted in small boxes," and though "papers 
of pins of two sorts ' ' were named, these 
were only loose pins wrapped in papers, not 
stuck in rows in paper as we buy them now. 
By 1775 pins began to have names — " Pins 
No. 4 & 12," "<,Durnford Pins;" and 
Harriot Paine at the Sign of the Buck 
and Glove had "corkins, middlings, short 
whites, lillikins, and lace pins." Others 
had Lellicins and Lellokans, which were all, 
I fancy, Mrs. Paine's lillikins, and Pound 
Pins and Pocket Brass Pins. In June, 1783, 
appeared in the Boston Evening Post the 
notice of Sheet Pins, which were, I suppose, 
sold stuck in sheets like our modern pins. 
We find George Washington ordering pins 
from England, "minikins," which were the 
smallest size, and were also called minifers. 

Pinners. This word has two meanings. 
The earlier use was precisely that of pina- 
fore, or pincurtle, or pincloth — a child's 
apron. Thus we read in the Harvard Col- 


Costume of Colonial Times 

lege records, of the expenses of the year 1677, 
of " linnen Cloth for Table Pinners, " which 
makes us suspect that Harvard students of 
that day had to wear bibs at commons. 
The second meaning was usually, when us 
in the plural, a woman's head-dress having 
long tabs or lappets that hung down the 
sides of the cheeks. We find Governor 
Berkeley of Virginia ordering, in 1660, " i 
Yard of fine Lace for a piner," which was 
to cost _^ I 10s. In Xhe. Boston News Letter 
of August, 1728, a runaway slave-woman was 
advertised as wearing off a "suit of Plain 
Pinners," which was probably a cap or 
head-dress without the streamers or lappets. 
In 1737 the same paper advertised " Pinners 
or Dresses Just Arrived firom London & Set 
in the Pink of the Mode." 

Plaster Box. A box in which medicinal 
plasters were carried. It not only formed 
part of the outfit of physicians, but was an 
ornamental trinket in the dressing-case of 
gentlemen. Thus Isaac Addington, of Bos- 
ton, who died in 1713, enumerated "my 
plaister-box ' ' among his silver. 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Plush. In 1695 Susannah Oxenbridge 
left a " Plush Gowne " to her parson's wife. 
Plush was advertised in the Boston News 
Letter of October 22, 171 1, and of June 3, 
1740 — both silk and "hair and worsted" 


" Lost a Pocket with a worked Handkerchief, 
part of the Muslin was cut off & the Lawn begun 
to be sewed to the Work. There was a green 
Purse with about Five Pounds of Silver in it which 
the Finder is very welcome to if he will bring the 
Handkerchief to the Printer." 

These pockets were ornamental bags, which 
were fastened on the outside of the gown. 
On them the fair wearer spent much time 
and skill. Elaborate designs in cross-stitch 
on canvas, bead and bugle work on velvet, 
are shown on these old pockets. The old 
song, "Lucy Locket lost her pocket," be- 
comes easily comprehensible when we see 
these old-fashioned bags of pockets, which 
were wholly detached from the gown. 

They were apparently sometimes made in 
pairs ; as several ' ' pairs of pockets ' ' formed 
part of Madam Usher's wardrobe. 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Points. Points were ties or laces of rib- 
bon, or woollen yarn, or leather, decorated 
with tags, or aiglets at one end. They 
were employed instead of buttons in secur- 
ing clothes, and were used only by the ear- 
liest settlers, and in New England, I think, 
solely as ornaments at the knee or for hold- 
ing up the stockings. They were there re- 
garded as but foolish vanities, and were one 
of the articles of finery tabooed in early 
sumptuary laws. In 1651 the General Court 
of Massachusetts expressed its "utter detes- 
tation and dislike that men of meane con- 
dition, education and calling should take 
upon them the garbe of gentlemen by the 
wearinge of poynts at the knees." We 
learn from the accounts of John Pyncheon 
in 1653 that "3 yds. garty points" were 
worth sixpence. These must have been 
cotton points. In the southern colonies 
silken points were worn. Justinian Snow, of 
St. Marys, Md., bought, in 1639, twenty- 
four dozen silk points worth nine shillings a 
dozen. These were probably of rich ribbon. 

PoLONESE. Fairholt says it was " a light 

Costume of Colonial Times 

open gown which came into fashion about 
1770 and was worn looped at the sides and 
trailing behind." This date must be en- 
tirely wrong. In November, 1755, " Cardi- 
nals & Polonees ' ' were advertised in the Bos- 
ton Evening Post. In September, 1756, in 
the same paper, " Figured Satin Dauphiness 
Cloaks & Polonese & Capuchins ; ' ' and in 
1758, " CoUored Pullanees." Of course 
they must have been worn in England much 
earlier than in the New World. The gar- 
ment is said to have been so called from a 
Polish article of dress, and has at varying 
intervals been in vogue up to the present day. 
We can gain some idea of the shape of an 
early polonese from the pages of the English 
Lady's Magazine. In 1774 it announced 

Lady Tufnell has the genteelest fancy in an un- 
dress now in London. She chiefly wears a white 
Persian gown and coat made of Irish polonese and 
covered with white or painted spotted gauze which is 
very much the taste. The Irish polonese is made 
very becoming ; it buttons half down the arm, no 
ruffles, quite straight in the back, and buttons down 
before and flies off behind, till there is nothing but a 
kind of role behind except the petticoat ; a large 

Costume of Colonial Times 

hood behind the neck ; short black and white laced 
aprons or painted gauze. 

It was also asserted in the same period- 
ical, in 1776, that the Italian polonese was 
"much the most smart and becoming." 

Pomander. A pomander was derivative- 
ly a little ornamental pouncet-box of metal 
— usually silver, pierced with holes. In it 
was placed a ball of spices and scents. 
Through the holes the sweet perfume es- 
caped. The pomander was sometimes swung 
at the side, but more frequently carried in 
the hand. The word pomander was origi- 
nally applied to the spice-ball, and not to its 
inclosing box. The composition of a po- 
mander was thus given : ' ' Your only way 
to make a good pomander is this : Take an 
ounce of the purest garden mould cleans' d 
& steeped seven days in change of mother- 
less rose water, then take the best labdanum, 
benjoin, both storaxes, ambergris, civit & 
musk. Incorporate them together and work 
them into what form you please. ' ' 

Pompon. The London Magazine, of 
1748, described a "pong-pong" (which 

Costume of Colonial Times 

was a pompon) as " the ornament worn by 
the ladies in the middle of the forepart of 
their headdresses. Their figures, size, and 
compositions are various, such as butterflies, 
feathers, tinsel, cockcomb, lace, &c." In 
a poem of same date I find this line, ' ' A 
flower vulg. diet, a pompoon." In 1752 
Elizabeth Murray had " pompeons " for 
sale in Boston. In November, 1755, in a 
rich invoice of fashionable novelties, came 
"Chinese pampoons," and a little later 
' ' pomparoons ; " so New England dames 
were not one whit behind English ones in 
the wear of the article, though possibly a 
little so in the spelling of it. Pompons were 
worn in Virginia and South Carolina. 

Prunella. A stuff like lasting. Gov- 
ernor Endicott, of Salem, left prunella by 
will in 1663. Susannah Oxenbridge, who 
died in Boston in 1695, left a " Blacke 
Prunella Gowne and Petticoat." 

By 1740 it was largely used for the manu- 
facture of women's shoes, and in 1772 we 
find "Strong rich black silk and Hair Pru- 
nella for Clergymens Coats and Waistcoats," 

Costume of Colonial Times 

and to women's shoes and clergymen's waist- 
coats and gowns it has since been relegated. 

Pumps. New England dandies wore, as 
did Monsieur A-la-mode : 

A pair of smart pumps made up of grain'd leather. 
So thin he cant venture to tread on a feather. 

And not dandies only, but servants. A 
runaway negro slave was advertised in the 
Boston News Letter of 1726 as wearing off 
a "Pair of Pumps with Silver Buckles; " 
and Indians had " Peaked To'd Turn'd 
Pumps with white metal Buckles. ' ' Gover- 
nor Belcher's negro Juba ran off shod in " a 
pair of trimmed Pumps with a very large 
pair of Flowered Buckles. ' ' If these pumps 
were as thin-soled as modern pumps, the 
wearers could not have run far. Women 
also wore pumps, made of morocco, lasting, 
and prunella ; some pumps were double- 
channelled and turned ; and children's 
pumps came to Boston and Hartford mar- 

Purl. A species of edging for ruffs, ruffles, 
cuffs, etc. Mrs. Palliser sayg it is difficult 

Costume of Colonial Times 

to exactly define the difference between lace 
and purl. We read of " fine purle to set on 
a pinner. ' ' Wait Winthrop sent several times 
pieces of purle to his nieces at New London 
about the year 1690. 

QtTALiTiES. A coarse binding tape ad- 
vertised in the Virginia Gazette, the Charles- 
ton Gazette, and New England papers in 
the eighteenth century. The name is still 
in use. 

Queen's Nightcap. See Cap. 

Queue. Elizabeth Cutter had, in 1663, 
"six neck-clothes and six quieues " worth 
four shillings. Jane Humphrey, in 1668, 
named together " one of my best neck- 
cloths and one of my plain quieues." 
These were evidently not the cues or wig- 
tails of the succeeding century, but were a 
neck covering. I do not find the name, in 
the latter signification, in use after 1680. 

QuiFE. See Coif. 

Quoife. See Coif. 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Rabato. Also spelt rebato and rebatine. 
A falling collar or band turned over upon the 
shoulders. " Stiff-necked rebatoes that have 
arches for pride to row under. ' ' The word 
was apparently used to distinguish any 
turned-down collar from a standing ruff, and 
was rarely used in America. 

Rail. The fashion of wearing ' ' immod- 
erate great rayles " was prohibited by law in 
Massachusetts in 1634. The garment at that 
date must have been a woman's loose gown 
or sacque worn in the daytime, for we cannot 
imagine even the meddlesome Massachusetts 
magistrates would dai'e to attempt to order 
what kind of a nightgown a woman should 
wear. But the name quickly was applied to 
a night garment. We read in a Boston news- 
paper of the loss of a " flowered callico night- 
rail with high collared neck ; ' ' and in in- 
ventories where cloth and velvet nightgowns 
appear, the rails are of linen and calico, thus 
proving it a garment worn when sleeping. I 
have seen the words bed-coat, and bed-gown, 
and bed-waistcoat used instead of night- 
rail. See Nightgown. . 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Ramilies. See Wig. 

Ranelagh Mob. See Cap. 

Rash. A loose-meshed silk or wool stuff 
of inferior quality. We find one colonist 
complaining that, having sent to England for 
fine Spanish broadcloths at 17 shillings a 
yard, he was sent nothing but cloth rash 
worth 9 shillings a yard ; and another wrote, 
in 1698: "Black Rashes are not Vendable 
here." In 1655 Robert Daniell, of Cam- 
bridge, Mass., had a " black Sut of Rash " 
worth a pound. It was evidently a stuff of 
smooth surface, for Donne, in his '■'Satires,'^ 
wrote : 

Sleeveless his jerkin was, and it had been 
Velvet, but 'twas now (so much ground was seen) 
Become Tufftaffaty ; and our children shall 
See it plain Rash awhile, then nought at all. 

Ratteen. A heavy stuff resembling 
drugget, advertised in March, 1748, in the 
Boston Independent Advertiser. Rattinet, 
also frequently imported, was a similar stuff, 
somewhat thinner. 

Rayl. See Rail. 


Costume of Colonial Times 

Reeatine. See Rabato. 

Ribbon. ' ' Silken ribens ' ' were of enough 
account in early days to be left by will, and 
denounced among superfluities by the Con- 
necticut magistrates. They were a favorite 
gift on St. Valentine's Day. Among the 
ribbons advertised in the middle of the 
eighteenth century were paduasoy ribbons, 
love ribbons, Dettingen ribbons, Prussian 
ribbons, silvered ribbons, and in 1767, in the 
Newport Mercury, liberty ribbons. 

Riding petticoat. See Safeguard. 

Ring. Finger-rings were not rare at the 
date of the settlement of the New World, and 
the early colonists, who were men of dignity 
and position, nearly all possessed them, as 
did all well-to-do and dignified EngHshmen. 
In the earliest colonial wills of the seven- 
teenth century that have been preserved to 
us in court records and in private deposito- 
ries we find frequent mention of them — 
usually, however, mourning rings. 

Rings were given at funerals, especially in 
wealthy families, to relatives and to persons 

Costume of Colonial Times 

of note, wealth, or public office in the com- 
munity. Sewall records in his diary, in the 
years from 1687 to 1725, the gift of no less 
than fifty-seven mourning rings. The story 
is told of Doctor Samuel Buxton, of Salem, 
Mass., — who died in 1758, aged eighty-one 
years, — that he left to his heirs a quart tank- 
ard full of mourning rings which he had re- 
ceived at funerals. At one Boston funeral, 
in 1738, over two hundred rings were given 
away. At Waitstill Win throp's funeral si.xty 
rings, worth over a pound apiece, were given 
to his relatives and friends. Often fifty or 
a hundred rings would be given at a minis- 
ter's or domine's funeral. 

These mourning rings were of gold, 
usually enamelled in black. They were fre- 
quently decorated with a death's - head or 
a coffin with a skeleton lying in it, or a 
winged skull. Often they held a framed lock 
of hair of the deceased friend. Sometimes 
the ring was shaped like a serpent with his 
tail in his mouth. Many bore a posy. In 
the Boston News Letter, of October 30, 
1742, was advertised : " Mourning Ring lost 
with the Posy Virtue & Love is From Above. ' ' 

Costume of Colonial Times 

A favorite motto was : " Death parts United 
Hearts." Others bore the legend: "Pre- 
pare for Death;" another, "Prepared be 
to follow me." Some funeral rings bore a 
family crest in black enamel. 

Goldsmiths kept these mourning rings 
constantly on hand. ' ' Deaths Heads 
Rings" and "Burying Rings" appear in 
many newspaper advertisements. The name 
or initials of the dead person and the date 
of his death were engraved upon the ring 
to order. This was called fashioning. 

It is very evident that the colonists 
looked with much eagerness to receiving a 
funeral ring at the death of a friend ; and in 
old diaries, almanacs, and note-books such 
entries as this are often seen ; " Made a ring 
at the funeral," " A Death's-head ring made 
at the funeral of " so and so. The will of 
Abigal Ropes, in 1775, gives to her grand- 
son "a. gold ring I made at his father's 
death;" and again, "a gold ring made 
when my bro. died." 

I do not know how long the custom of 
giving funeral rings obtained in America. 
Some are in existence dated 181 2, but 

Costume of Colonial Times 

were given at the funeral of aged persons, 
who may have left orders to their descend- 
ants to cling to the fashion of their youth. 

A very good collection of mourning rings 
may be seen at the rooms of the Essex Insti- 
tute, in Salem, and that society has also 
published a pamphlet, written by Mr. Cur- 
win, giving a list of mourning rings known 
to be in existence in Salem. 

Wedding rings were seldom named in 
New England inventories. Jane Humph- 
reys, of Dorchester, Mass., had one in 1667. 
Mather said the Puritans made no use of 
rings at weddings ; and one writer said they 
thought rings ' ' a Relique of Popery and a 
DiaboUicall Circle for the Divell to daunce 

Robert Keayne, a wealthy citizen of Bos- 
ton, was an early owner of what was called a 
" stoned ring." He left, in 1653, a "Great 
Gold Emerod Ring," which seems to still 
shed, with its great capital letters, a richly 
glittering green light. Other colonists had 
handsome rings ; Parson John Wilson left, in 
1688, a "gold ring with seal & an Enamelled 
ring." Governor Endicott's portrait has a 

Costume of Colonial Times 

handsome ring on the little finger. A ring 
presented to a member of the Winthrop 
family by Charles I. played an important 
part in history when re-presented to Charles 
II. by a New England Winthrop. Major 
John Pyncheon, of Springfield, Mass., had 
" 6 gold rings and i Ruble ring." Mrs. 
De Lange, of New York, had two great 
diamond rings. Governor Caleb Carr, of 
Providence, R. I., named in his will in 
1693, " Three gold Rings, my Seal ring and 
the gold ring I now weare commonly called 
hand in hand & heart between." The lat- 
ter form of ring was fashionable for many 
years. I have often seen references to 
" heart and hand rings." 

Parson John Oxenbridge died in Boston 
in 1673. Though he bemoaned his strait- 
ened circumstances, he owned and bequeath- 
ed " 2 Carnelian Rings, i Ring beset with 
Blew Specks. [To his daughter Theodorah, 
who married Parson Thatcher.] My gold 
Ring with her name in it. My green Emer- 
aud Ring with Diamond Sparks, and a Dia- 
mond Ring." He also left "A White 
Amethyst Ring. A Dozen Mourning Rings. 

Costume of Colonial Times 

A Scale Ringe." All these save the latter 
were left to his daughters ; but his widow, 
Susannah, must have had a pretty store of 
her own ; for at her decease in 1695, she left 
a ring to nearly every minister in Boston. 
" My diamond ring" to Mr. Allen, and a 
gold ring to his wife; a ring to Joshua 
Moody ; an emerald ring and gold ring to 
still another parson — ten rings in all. 
When Judith Sewall was betrothed, her 
lover gave her a ' ' stoned ring, a fan and a 
noble letter," yet I find no definite notices 
of a fixed fashion of "betrothal rings." 
Cotton Mather was given a ring by the 
University of Glasgow, bearing the legend, 
" Glascua rigavit ;" and Judge Sewall 
made frequent gifts of rings to friends, al- 
ways with appropriate Latin mottoes. 

As years passed on, advertisements ap- 
peared in the newspapers of rings lost, rings 
found, rings for sale. ' ' Fine diamond rings, 
stoned rings, fashionable heart rings, carnel- 
ian rings, and mocus rings. ' ' 

In the estate of one Jacobs, which was con- 
fiscated by a witch-hunting Salem sheriff in 
1692, was " one Large Goold Thumb Ring 

Costume of Colonial Times 

worth twenty shillings;" and in 1729 the 
New England Weekly Journal advertised 
a large thumb-ring picked up in Rumney 

RoBiNGS. Round robins or robings were 
narrow ruffs about the collar or neck of the 
gown. I find them usually offered for sale 
with cuffs and frequently also with stomach- 
ers. In 1751, \w\h& Boston Evening Post, 
were named " a Variety of Robins & Cuffins 
fer Gowns." By June, 1753, Harriot Paine 
had "Snail Bugle & Silver Facings & 
Robings for the Ladies " for sale. Then 
came " Bugle Cuffings Robings & Stomach- 

Rocket. I think no better description 
of a rocket can be given than that of Celia 
Fiennes : — 

You meete all sorts of countrywomen wrapped up 
in the mantles called West Country Rockets, a large 
mantle doubled together, of a sort of serge, some 
are linsey-woolsey and a deep fringe or fag at the 
lower end ; these hang down, some to their feet, 
some only just below the waist ; in the summer they 
are all in white garments of this sort, in the winter 
they are in red ones. 


Costume of Colonial Times 

These English rockets were brought over 
by many a Devonshire or Cornish woman to 
New England. They were also spelt rochet. 


' ' Within the Roquelaures Clasp thy arms are pent 
Hands that stretch't forth Invading Harms prevent." 

In A Treatise on the Modes, 1715, a 
roquelaure is said to be a " short abridge- 
ment or compendium of a cloak, which is 
dedicated to the Duke of Roquelaure." 
These garments were worn by both men 
and women. The first mention I have 
chanced to see of one in New England is in 
the Boston News Letter in 1730, when one 
of Boston's citizens lost his " Blue Cloak or 
Roculo with Gold Buttons." Sir William 
Pepperell, who was a little shaky in his 
spelling, but possibly no more so than his 
neighbors, sent in 1737 from Piscataqua to 
one Hooper in England for "A Handsom 
Rockolet for my daughter of about 15 yrs. 
old, or what is ye Most Newest Fashion 
for one of her age to ware at meeting in ye 
Wint' Season." From 1736 to 1764 ap- 
peared, in the Boston News Letter and Bos- 

Costume of Colonial Times 

ton Evening Post, such advertisements as 
these : " Cloth & Silk Roqualos," " Camb- 
lets for Roquelos of a peculiar color & Fa- 
brick. ' ' The following roquelaures were all 
lost by careless folk : " Light colour' d cloth 
Roccelo that has a Double Cape; " "Blue 
Drab Roquelo napp'd within, has two capes 
to it ; " " The person who borrowed some 
time since a Light colour' d Roquello of Mr. 
Richard Billings on the Town Dock is de- 
sired immediately to return the same to 
him." It may be noted that the correct 
spelling — roquelaure — is never once hit upon 
in all these liberal variations. 

The variety of colors and materials de- 
scribed as worn in these outdoor garments 
give one a vivid idea of the gay appearance 
of town streets in New England throughout 
the middle of the eighteenth century. I do 
not find any universal use of the word in 
the South. 

Roses. See Shoes. 

Ruff. We usually associate bands, 
straight or falling, with the stiff-necked Puri- 

Costume of Colonial Times 

tans ; but ruffs were occasionally worn. 
The portrait of Winthrop shows a very, neat- 
ly plaited one ; and he left fourteen ' ' ruffes ' ' 
by will. The portrait alleged to be that 
of Miles Standish, and dated 1625, shows 
also a ruff of fine proportions. 

Ruffles. When Richard Richbell, of 
Boston, died in 1682, he had seven pair of 
ruffles and ribbons worth seven pounds. 
Ruffles on shirt-fronts and at wrists did not 
go out of fashion for Boston beaux for a 
century after Richbell's death. In 1755 
"Flowered Lawn Ruffles" and "Lace & 
Millinet for Gentlemens Ruffles " were ad- 
vertised ; and the following year treble ruf- 
fles. Many portraits of this date show bosom- 
ruffles. Thomas Hutchinson's fine waist-coat 
has a ruffle from extreme top to bottom. 
The wrist-ruffles of Thomas Boylston's por- 
trait (about 1760) nearly cover his hand. 
The portrait of Peter Fanueil shows him in 
velvet ruffles. 

RussEL. A woollen cloth like baize much 
used in New England. It had a close- 

Costume of Colonial Times 

grained twill and was very durable. Manu- 
factured originally of various weights, and 
made into various garments, it finally seemed 
to be assigned wholly to the manufacture of 
women's and children's shoes. See Shoes. 

Sacque. Fairholt says the sacque was a 
woman's garment introduced into England 
about the year 1740. This date seems to be 
widely incorrect, since Madam Pepys had 
"a French gown called a Sac" in 1669. 
The sacque worn during the last half 0/ the 
eighteenth century was a flowing garment 
open in front, and sometimes drawn away in 
loops or plaits on each side. It hung loose 
from the shoulders to the ground in great 
folds over the hooped petticoat, and was uni- 
versally worn by fashionable dames in old 
England and New England, and probably 
in the Southern colonies. In 1751 there 
were advertised in the Boston Evening Post 
" white calico with work'd sprigs for sacks," 
and "Rich Tobine & tissues for men & 
women's wear, chiefly Gowns and Sacks & 
worn mostly by the Gentry in England and 
France." The following year Elizabeth 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Murray had for sale in Boston ' ' Izavees 
Moorees & Humphumps for Sacks ; ' ' and a 
little later, " a large Sortment of Cloth col- 
oured trimmings for Ladys sacks. " In 1 758 
was lost a " Blue Damask Sack Gown with 
Close Cuffs laid with White Stuff most to the 
top. " At a sale of a " great variety of wom- 
ens apparel" in Boston, in August, 1774, 
were twelve rich sacks and petticoats. In 
the Receipt for Modern Dress, written at 
that time, we read : 

Let»your gown be a sacque, blew, yellow or green, 
And frizzle your elbows with ruffles sixteen. 

The fashionable colors for sacques in 1774 
were "new palish blue or dark lilac satin." 
They were trimmed down the sides with 
chenille or blonde lace, often put on in waves 
or furbelows, and sometimes were richly 
lined. The fashionable materials were 
striped satin or tobine, but almost all other 
light silks or stuffs were used. 

Safeguard. The significant name of an 

outside petticoat of heavy woollen or linen 

stuff, worn by women over other garments 

to protect them from mud and mire, while 


Costume of Colonial Times 

the wearer rode on horseback. This was, 
of course, before the advent of the riding- 
habit. In the year 1600 Queen Elizabeth 
had thirty-one cloaks and safeguards, thirteen 
safeguards, and forty-three jupes and safe- 
guards. New England women were usually 
satisfied with one apiece. In 1654 Ellinor 
Tresler, of Salem, left by will her " Sad col- 
lered Cloake, Wascote, Safeguard & Gouene 
to goe together ' ' — an outfit such as we read 
of in the Noble Gentleman, "your safe- 
guard, cloak and your hood suitable." 
Governor Winthrop sent a "gown, peticote 
and saveguard" to his granddaughter in 
Stamford in 1648. The name was used in 
England until this century ; the garment is 
still worn there by farmers' wives ; but I 
do not find it referred to in New England 
after the middle of the eighteenth century. 
Ann Warder wrote of the Quaker women of 
Pennsylvania in 1786: "They are very 
shiftable ; they ride by themselves with a 
safeguard, which, when done with is tied to 
the saddle and the horse hooked to a rail 
standing all meeting time as still as their 
riders sit. ' ' 


Costume of Colonial Times 

Other names for a safeguard were foot- 
mantle, as Chaucer wrote, and weather- 
skirt. And the " Manchester riding petti- 
coat ' ' seized by a Philadelphia sheriff in 
1760 was a safeguard. 

Sagathy. Among " All Sorts of Winter 
Goods ' ' advertised in the Boston News 
Letter of December 15, 17 15, appear sag- 
gathies. In other notices it is spelt saga- 
thees. It was a woollen stuff used chiefly 
for men's garments, and was said to be very 
durable. We read of a Philadelphia run- 
away in 1752 wearing off "a light cloth- 
colour'd Sagathy coat lined with Lead 
colour' d Allapine." 

Samare. This garment was said by 
Randle Holme to be a sort of jacket for 
women's wear, with four tails or side laps 
reaching to the knee. Under various spell- 
ings — somar, simarre, simar, samarra, cimar, 
cymarre, and chymarre — it was applied to 
various over garments ; and in a poetical 
sense, as by Scott in Ivanhoe, to a loose, 
flowing robe. Its original meaning was a 

Costume of Colonial Times 

sanbenito, or garment worn to execution by 
persons condemned by the Inquisition. 

The garment, called a somar in the Sa- 
lem tailor's bill, given on page 21, was a 
samare. I find the word used in New York 
in 1662, in the inventory given on page 
26 of the rich wardrobe of the widow of 
Dr. Jacob De Lange. She had one silk 
potoso-a-samare with lace worth ^^3 ; one 
tartanel samare with tucker worth ^\ \os.; 
one black silk crape samare with tucker 
worth ^i -LOS.; and three flowered calico 
samares worth ^1 \os. As these samares 
were enumerated with the petticoats, and as 
no other jackets or doublets are named, it is 
evident that they were worn over the rich 
petticoats, and they were of materials of va- 
rious weights for summer and winter use. 
In a Dutch dictionary, published in Am- 
sterdam in 1735, a samare is defined simply 
as a woman's gown. 

Sarcanet. This thin but firm silk, used 
under the same name to the present day, 
was made as early as the thirteenth century, 
and was also called sendal. It was also 

Costume of Colonial Times 

spelt sarsnet, scarsonett, and sarsinet, and was 
much used for cloak linings and for hoods,«nd 
appears in all lists of milliners and mercers. 

Say. Originally a silk material — sole. 
Spenser says : ' ' His garment neither was of 
silke nor say. ' ' It came at a later date to 
be applied to a thin worsted stuff. Benja- 
min Franklin enumerated say with woollen 
stuffs, such as cloth, kerseys, serges, friezes, 
etc. I find "black Sudbury Say " adver- 
tised in the Boston Evening Post as late as 
July, 1768; and say appears also in the 
earliest New England inventories; twelve 
yards of green say were worth one pound 
and thirteen shillings in 1629. 

Scallop. Pepys wrote in 1662 : " Made 
myself fine with Capt. Ferrer's lace band, 
being lothe to mar my own new Scallop, it 
is so fine." In a Maryland trial at about 
that same date, the washing of a certain lace 
scallop bore an important part ; but the word 
was rarely used in the colonies. A scallop 
was, as its name indicates, a collar or band 
scalloped on the edge. 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Scarf. An article of dress worn by men 
and women, and forbidden to poor folk in 
Connecticut in 1676. Old Major Pyncheon 
had, in 1703, a " Trooping Scarff with Goold 
Lace" worth jQt) lO'f- Furbelowed scarfs 
of gauze and net were worth one pound and 
thirteen shillings, and were worn by women 
of fashion. 

Sendal. See Sarcanet. 

Sergedenim. The name of a material, 
probably our modern denim. Advertised in 
the Boston Independent Advertiser of Sep- 
tember, 1748, and in the Connecticut Cou- 
rant of April 22, 1776, and thus spelled — 
searge de-nim. 

Sergedesoy. See Desoy. 

Shade. In 1755 it was advertised in 
colonial prints that ' ' capuchins & shades ' ' 
would be made to order. These shades 
were apparently a head-covering. On June 
I, 1738, in the Boston News Letter, " Wor- 
sted Shades; " in 1753, "white Paris net 
shades;" and in 1755, "fine Flowered 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Gauze for Shades" — were all advertised. 
The word shade in these notices was applied 
to a stuff rather than to head-gear or gar- 
ments. Thus Eliza Southgate Bowne wrote, 
about the year 1800 : 

If you see anything that would be light and hand- 
some for our summer gowns I wish you would get 
them. Why cant you go and see McClellans Lace 
Shades. I think there are some for ten shillings a 

I do not find the word shade defined as a 
stuff in any dictionary, but in a poem 
printed in 1766 I find in a list of mate-, 
rials — 

Painted lawns and cheqer'd shades 
Crape that's worn by lovelorn maids, 
Watered tabbies, flowered brocades. 

Shadow. A shadow was a sunshade, 
either worn on the head or carried in the 
hand. In 1580, in England, a "Gale and 
Shadoe ' ' were worth five shillings. We 
read, in Purchas' Pilgrimage, of "shadows 
to defend in Summer from the Sunne, 
in Winter from the raine." In the inven- 
tory of the estate of Richard Lusthead, of 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Mattapinian, Md., in 1642, we find "plain 
shadows " among other headgear. They 
are also named in Virginian inventories. 

Shag. A heavy woollen cloth with a 
long nap, much used in New England, but 
possibly too heavy for Virginia and the 
Carolinas. Pyncheon wrote from Spring- 
field for ' ' tawny, murry, & liver - culler 
shagg." George Vaughan, a New Hamp- 
shire settler, received in 1632 ninety yards 
of shag at eighteen pence a yard. It was 
advertised in ihs iOonnecticut Courant as late 
as October 15, 1790. It was much used, to 
quote Carlyle's phrase, " for petticoats and 
other indispensable garments. ' ' 

Shalloons. Peter Fanueil ordered, in 
1737 shalloons at 4^. 6^. a yard. Phillips 
gave, in 1706, this definition of the material : 
' ' Shalloon, a sort of woolen stuff chiefly 
used for the linings of coats, and so called 
from Chalons, a city of France where it was 
first made. ' ' It was in texture not unlike 
our modern challis. I cannot find that the 
words and stuffs, though similar, have any 


Costume of Colonial Times 

direct connection. The name shallons ap- 
pears in advertisements till this century. 

Shape. A shape was originally a head- 
covering. In 1753, June 11, in the Boston- 
Evening Post, " New Fashion Childrens 
Bugle & Silver Shapes ' ' appear. Cotton 
shapes also were advertised ; and in October, 
" Flowered Velvet Shapes, ditto in Various 
Colours cut & flower' d," which were either 
a stuff or a garment. In 1767 " New Taby 
Shapes ' ' were " 2 5 sh per piece. ' ' This.mean- 
ing of the word shape, as given in all the 
eighteenth century newspapers, is entirely 
overlooked by the dictionaries. 

Shawl. The first notice that I have seen 
of the sale of shawls in America appeared in 
Xkvi Salem Gazette m. 1784: "a rich Sort- 
ment of Shawls. ' ' This was at the time of 
the birth of the East India trade. The use 
of the shawl in Europe is practically of this 

Sheen-strads. See Spatterdashes. 

Sherry -VALLIES. A sort of pantaloon or 
legging worn on horseback, as a protection 

Costume of Colonial Times 

against bespattering mud, over trousers or 
breeches, and buttoned up on the outside of 
the leg. Rebecca Franks, writing in Rev- 
olutionary times, said of General Charles 
Lee, that he rode in ' ' old green breeches 
patched with leather." He answered her 
with asperity that they were " actually legiti- 
mate sherryvallies such as his majesty of Po- 
land wears, who let me tell you, is a man 
who has made more fashions than all your 
knights of the Meschianza put together." 
In a note in the United States Magazine, for 
January, 1779, it is said that "sherry- 
vallies were a kind of long breeches reach- 
ing to the ankle, with a broad stripe of 
leather on the inside of the thigh for con- 
venience of riding." A Springfield tailor 
thus advertised in 1825 : 

Shorrevals and Overalls 
And Pantaloons he'll make, 
Cutting too he'll always do 
And will no cabbage take. 

These " shorrevals " were sherry-vallies. 

Shift. The old English word shift was 
universally used by all English - speaking 

Costume of Colonial Times 

folk to denote the feminine under-garment 
now known as a chemise. Ann Clark and 
Jane Humphreys, settlers in Massachusetts 
in 1666 and 1668, left shifts by will. In 
1738 EUzabeth Gedney, of Boston, had four- 
teen shifts valued at ^S 4s. Madam Usher 
had " 7 Holland shifts and i Flannel shift." 
Shifts appear in the inventories of men's es- 
tates, but were not, I think, ever worn by 

Shoes. The Virginian planters stepped 
on the banks of the river James in boots ; 
but the universal foot-covering of the Pil- 
grim and Puritan colonists was shoes. 
' ' Four hundred peare of shues ' ' were or- 
dered for the one hundred emigrants to the 
Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1628. Part 
of an order for these colonists was made 
according to this contract : " Agreed with 
John Heuson to make eight peare of Welt 
neates leather shues closed on the outsydes 
with a seam ; to be substanciall good ouer 
Leather of the best and 2 soles, the Inner 
soale of goode neates Leather, and the outer 
of tallowed backs." " Dekers of the best 

Costume of Colonial Times 

bend Lether ' ' were also carried to the new 
land for the purpose of making new shoes 
when these stout English ones were worn 
out, and a tannery was established at Ips- 
wich, Mass., in 1634, to provide new leath- 

Many of these shoes that were furnished 
to the early planters were thirteen inches 
long, and were not made with pointed toes 
either ; on such sturdy bases did the found- 
ers of the new colony rest. 

In Connecticut the leather-tanning and 
shoemaking trades were quickly estab- 
lished ; and it is painful to know that the 
founders of a " state whose Desire was Re- 
ligion and Religion alone," quickly learned 
to cheat in their shoemaking. As early as 
1647 a large lot of the shoes made by the 
Connecticut colonists proved grievously 
poor and unworthy — the thread weak, the 
leather weaker ; and lawsuits were quickly 
brought by the incensed shoe-buyers. When 
the matter was brought before the magis- 
trates, Contractor Meigs tried to throw the 
blame on his workman. The latter in turn 
brought witnesses to prove that " Goodman 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Meigs said to Goodman Gregory, Flapp 
them together, they are to go far inoughe," 
and so he (Gregory) did flap them together 
as ordered. The leather, too, did not prove 
to be as represented, and in order to avoid 
further deception the court decreed that 
" every Shoemaker in the town mark all 
those shoes he makes of neates leather before 
he Sells them with an N upon the lap with- 
inside below where they be tied." At the 
same date the finest shoes were marked, in 
comical contrast to our modern slang, " N. 

In delivering final judgment on Good- 
man Meigs the court said: " In a single 
pair of shoes several evils appear : such as 
contempt of court, continewed unrighteous- 
ness, and other similar evils ; and how 
many shoes he had made and sold of such 
faulty materials, and so loaded with evils the 
court say they know not." Thus was the 
depravity of inanimate objects rebuked by 
the Puritan magistrates. 

It is common to represent the Puritans as 
shod with buckled shoes, but certainly these 
New Haven colonists wore shoe-strings in- 

Costume of Colonial Times 

stead of buckles. The latter are not men- 
tioned in the early inventories, but shoe- 
strings were important enough to be left by 
will, as by that of Mrs. Dillingham, of 
Ipswich. Perhaps they were "rich span- 
gled marisco shoe-strings," such as Dekker 
wrote of in 1633 in his Match Me in Lon- 

If shoe-strings were valuable enough to be 
bequeathed, of course shoes would be also. 
William Replye, of Hingham, a wealthy 
man, left ' ' one paier of shoes to my son ' ' 
by will. Scores of other instances could be 

Sizes were designated by numbers, as at 
the present day. From the inventory of 
the estate of Robert Turner, of Boston, in 
1651, we learn that No. 11 shoes were 
worth 4^-. 6(/. a pair ; No. 1 2 shoes, 4.^. %d. 
a pair; No. 13 shoes, 4^-. lod. a pair. In 
1672 a law was proposed in Boston to pre- 
vent shoemakers from asking more than five 
shillings a pair for sizes 1 1 and 1 2 . Laws 
were enacted in other communities to pre- 
vent extortionate prices. In Connecticut 
in 1676 shoemakers could have only "five 

Costume of Colonial Times 

pence half penny a size for all playne & 
wooden heeled shoes, and seven pence half- 
penny a size for well wrought French 
Falls." French Fall shoes, whatever they 
were, remained in style for some time. 
Runaway Indian servants were advertised in 
the Bos^en News Letter oi October, 1711, 
and of September, 17 13, as wearing French 
Fall Shoes. In Maryland this style of shoe 
seems to have been common wear as early as 


The advertisements of runaways at that 
date show a vast variety of styles. One in 
1712 wore "Square To'd Shoes with Steel 
Buckles ; " another, in 1707, wore " Round 
to'd Shoes;" a third, in 1711, had a 
" New pair Wooden Heeled Shoes ; " and, 
in 1 7 16, one had " old shoes with strings in 
them." By 1723 low leather heels appear, 
and shoe-buckles of steel, brass, and silver, 
even on negro slaves. The Virginian slaves 
seem to have worn largely " Virginia-shoes." 
I find the name used for the wear of field- 
servants till this century. 

Of women's shoes in the seventeenth cen- 
tury we know but little. Doubtless the 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Puritan dames and maids followed closely 
the Puritan goodmen in shape and material 
of their foot-gear. Pointed shoes came in 
style by 1730, and, like those worn by Eng- 
lish ladies of fashion, were of thin material. 
In 1740 " Mourning Shoes " appeared in the 
Boston Evening Post, and in April, 1742, 
in the same paper, Mrs. Nutmaker adver- 
tised that she had at the Three Sugar Loaves 
and Cannister " Womens fine Silk, flower' d 
Russel, white callimanco. Black Russel, 
Black Shammy, & Girls Flower' d Russel 
Shoes, Black Velvet, white Damask, & 
flower' d silk Clogs, Womens black & chil- 
drens red Morocco shoes and pumps ; " a 
pretty variety, surely. These shoes were 
not at all cheap. In 1748, in the Boston 
Independent Advertiser, appeared this no- 
tice : " Greatest Variety of Beautiful Silk 
Shoes as has been imported in many years. 
Russel and Callimanco Shoes 52s 6d a 
pair ; ' ' and the silk and damask ones were 
higher priced still. 

John Hoses shoes were great favorites for 
many years, and were sold everywhere 
throughout the colonies. In 1764 Jolley 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Allen, the enterprising Boston shopkeeper, 
advertised " John Hoses shoes at 56s. Silk 
Shoes at 6s. Neat made Russel shoes at 
47s 6d and Lyn made shoes at 36s." 
This last item brings us to a very impor- 
tant feature in shoe-wearing in America — the 
manufacture of shoes in Lynn. Shoes were 
made in that town as early as 1670 — coarse 
shoes with straps and buckles — and the 
manufacture constantly increased. By 1750 
women's shoes of fine quality were made 
with "white and russet bands closely 
stitched with waxed threads." The toes 
were pointed and heels were high, "cross- 
cut, common, court and wurtemburgh ' ' 
heels. In 1763 best Lynn made shoes were 
advertised in Boston papers — " womens cal- 
limanco Shoes of all colours and sizes made 
by the neatest handed workmen in Lynn at 
38s a pair and cheaper by the quantity." 
The manufacture of shoes in Lynn increased 
so in quantity and quality that it completely 
revolutionized the trade. 

Women's shoes were made of still other 
materials than have been mentioned — dam- 
ask, cloth, everlasting. Avis Binney had 

Costume of Colonial Times 

for sale in 1751 " womens best Damask 
Worsted shoes in fashionable colours, viz : 
Saxon blue, green, pink colour, and 
white ;" so it is plain that very light-col- 
ored shoes prevailed at that date. In 1782 
came on the brig Sally to Providence a large 
stock of ' ' embroidered shoe Vamps ' ' and 
' ' Sattinet patterns for Ladies' shoes of vari- 
ous colours with a set Flower in the Vamp." 
So we see that womeiis shoes disappeared 
with the Revolution, and with republican 
simplicity ladies' shoes came in. Low 
heels, too, made their appearance, no heels 
even, sandal - shaped foot-gear, about the 
year 1790. Very low heels had been ad- 
vertised in the Boston. Evening Post of 
1764, but I fancy they were on servants' 
shoes. Children's shoes followed the fash- 
ions of their elders. Boys wore leather and 
kid, and little girls had " silk Damask, red 
moroco and flowered russel shoes. ' ' 

All these vari-colored and vari -shaped 
shoes for women's and ladies' wear had thin 
soles. I have never seen a pair of century- 
old shoes, no matter what the material, with 
anything but "paper soles." Hence the 

Costume of Colonial Times 

vast sale and wear of clogs, goloshes, and 

At intervals throughout the century- 
buckles of different sizes and materials were 
worn on women's shoes, but it is impossible 
to give the exact dates of such wear. 
"Sorted Colours of Shoe Roses," as adver- 
tised in the Sale7n Gazette of July, 1784, 
had also their day, alternating with buckles 
and ferret shoe-strings in favor. 

In the cases at the Essex Institute at Sa- 
lem, and in the Museum of Art at Boston, in 
the rooms of the Worcester Society of An- 
tiquity, and in the Deerfield Memorial Hall 
may be seen handsome shoes that were worn 
by women in the past century ; high-heeled, 
pointed-toed, of as rich material as the 
gowns, they are broader in the sole across 
the ball of the foot than would now be 
considered elegant or graceful. See Batts, 
Brogues, Pumps, Slippers, Cockers. 

Shoepack. A shoe shaped like a mocca- 
sin, without a separate sole, but made of 
tanned leather, and much worn in Revolu- 
tionary times. 


Costume of Colonial Times 

Silk Grass. From the earliest years of 
the colonies until well into the eighteenth 
century I find constant references to a tex- 
tile called silk grass. Mr. Eggleston says 
it was the "cotton" from the milkweed. 
This statement cannot be correct ; the milk- 
weed pappus was called silk-down. John 
Winthrop, in a letter to Sir Robert Murray 
in 167 1, explains at length that the silk 
down from the " silke podds " was used to 
stuff beds and bolsters and for tinder ; and 
he adds, " Concerning ye question whether 
it be spun, I have heard of some have tried 
it but never saw any but some grosly spun 
for candlewicke. " 

Many references vaguely indicate the real 
character of silk grass. On December 23, 
1640, Thomas Georges wrote to John Win- 
throp for " some of that stuffe which with 
us supplies the want of hempe. Our Indi- 
ans make theyr snow Shoes, nets and bags 
of it. Alsoe of a bigger stalke called silke 
grass which makes very fine hempe." 
Francis Higginson wrote in 1630 that there 
were in New England " two kinds of herbs 
that bear two kinds of flowers very sweet 


Costume of Colonial Times 

which they say are as good to make cordage 
or cloth as any flax or hemp we have." 
Some indication of its identity is found in 
the Travels of Kalm in Pennsylvania in 
1744, who writes: " Instead of flax several 
people make use of a kind of Dogsbane or 
Apocynum cannabium. The people prepare 
the stalks of this plant in much the same 
manner as we prepare Hemp or Flax." 
Many other travellers and planters bear glow- 
ing testimony to these "herbes." Cartier 
speaks of them, calling them chanure (chan- 
vre). Berkeley writes of them in Virginia. 
In the True Relation concerning the State of 
New England, 1634, we read of " three 
sortes of plantes whereof Lynnen & Cordage 
may be made, the coursest sort excells our 
hemp & the finest may equal the coursest 
silke." In 1628 "two tun weight of silke 
grasse ' ' was ordered by the Massachusetts 
Bay Company ; and Matthew Cradock, writ- 
ing from London in 1629 to Endicott, said: 
"The like do I wish for a ton weight at 
least of silk grass." It was evidently used 
to weave with silk, for in 17 19, in Judith 
Sewall's outfit was ordered ' ' Good strong 

Costume of Colonial Times 

black Silk Damask, no Silk Grass to be in 
it. ' ' And we know Queen Elizabeth had a 
gown made of it. It must have been strong 
and tough, for I find it constantly advertised 
for sale for shoemakers' supplies. In the 
Boston News Letter, May 23, 1727, "Good 
Silk Grass Suitable for Cordwainers ; " on 
December 26, 1728, " Very good Silk Grass 
for Shoemakers." Both cordwainers and 
braziers also had it for sale in Boston at the 
same date. 

Skilts. Sylvester Judd, a most reliable 
and valued authority, thus described in 
Margaret this garment : 

Her father and elder brother wore a sort of brown 
tow trousers known at the time as skilts ; they were 
short, reaching just below the knee, and very large 
being a full half yard broad at the bottom. 

They were worn during Revolutionary times, 
and seem to have been a forerunner of trou- 

Skirt. The first application of this word 
in the sense of petticoat appears in 1768, 

Costume of Colonial Times 

thus : " Fine Flower' d Dimothies for 
Skirts." "Quilts for Ladies Skirts." 
Skirts of coats and waistcoats had been pre- 
viously named. We read in the Journal of 
a Young Lady of Vh'ginia (1782) : 

Hannah was dressed in a lead-coulered habbit 
open, with a lylack lutestring scirt. Sister wore a 
blue habbit with a white Satin scirt. 

Sleeve. In the reign of Henry VIII. the 
sleeve was often a separate article of dress 
and the most gorgeous and richly orna- 
mented portion of the dress. Outer and in- 
ner sleeves were worn by both men and 
women. But Elizabeth banished the outer 
sleeve, though she retained the detached 
sleeve. In our colonial days separate sleeves 
still were worn by women, but not such gay 
sleeves. A careful student of the history of 
the sleeve notes : 

The flat lace or linen collar of the early part of 
the seventeenth century had a depressing effect on 
the sleeve ; it was still full, but flattened on the 
shoulder. It was not until the latter part of that 
century that the sleeve merely to the elbow became 
common in England ; and the eighteenth century 
was emphatically the age of the elbow sleeve, with 

Costume of Colonial Times 

its frills of real lace and ornaments of fluttering rib- 
bons. In the days of the Revolution the sleeve van- 

The " slytting " or slashing of sleeves was 
still in vogue in Pilgrim days, and was re- 
garded as an idle vanity. Massachusetts 
men and women were forbidden to have 
more than one slash in each sleeve, nor could 
they wear sleeves over half an ell wide. 
Short sleeves, " whereby the nakedness of the 
arm may be discovered," were also prohib- 
ited, or were to be reinforced and made 
properly modest with linen cuffs. Existing 
portraits prove how little these laws were 
heeded. A double-puffed " virago " sleeve 
seems to have been much worn by women 
just previous to the assumption of the elbow 
sleeve. Few indications of the wear of de- 
tached sleeves are noted among the English 
colonists ; but Dutch women had almost 
universally a " pair of sleeves. ' ' Sometimes 
these were worth three pounds a pair. They 
were often trimmed with "great lace" or 
gold lace, and seem to have been a truly 
elegant and convenient fashion. 

I wish to note, in passing, a definite use 

Costume of Colonial Times 

of the word hanging sleeve, which I have 
not seen given in any of the dictionaries or 
histories of costume, which always character- 
ize hanging sleeves as an ornamental over- 
sleeve. It was often used by Pepys in his 
diary, and by Judge Sewall in his letters, 
solely to indicate a portion of the dress of a 
child, in fact to symbolize a dress of infancy. 
Judge Sewall also used it to indicate second 
childhood, thus, " I am come again to my 
hanging sleeves. ' ' A girl who was ' ' still in 
hanging sleeves " was still.a little child, not 
even a miss in her teens. 

Sliders. See Slyders. 


Standing on slippers which his nimble haste 
Had thrust upon contrary feet, 

wrote Shakespeare in his day. Henry VII. 
when writing to inquire the personal ap- 
pearance of a princess whom he wished for 
a wife, asked if she " stood in slipers." 
Judge Samuel Sewall wrote to Edward Hall, 
in 1686, thanking him for "your loving 
Token the East India slippers to my wife; " 

Costume of Colonial Times 

and in his diary, of his own footgear, " Go- 
ing out to call the Fisherman in slip-shoes 
I fell flat." Randle Holme writes of slap- 
shoes — shoes with a loose sole. 

Part of the lading of the Neptune, which 
was sold at Andrew Faneuil's shop or wharf 
in Boston, in 1711, were "slippers." Mo- 
rocco slippers appear frequently for sale in 
the early American newspapers. 

In 1796 Sally McKean wrote to the sister 
of Dolly Madison of the modes of the day : 

There have come some odd fashioned slippers for 
ladies made of various color'd kid and morocco with 
small silver clasps sewed on ; they are very hand- 

Slivers. See Slyders. 

Slops. The signification of this word 
has greatly varied. Originally a loose cas- 
sock for woman's wear, it came to mean a 
smock-frock, then a night-gown; then, in 
Shakespeare's time, it meant wide, full, Dutch 
breeches — knickerbockers — and such is its 
signification when used in old New Eng- 
land, though apparently for overall breeches 


Costume of Colonial Times 

to be worn to protect other breeches or hose. 
The old English application of the word to 
a certain form of shoes is not found in Amer- 
ica. Its present colloquial use is to indicate 
cheap, ready-made clothing. The eigh- 
teenth-century word cantsloper, or khant- 
sloper, used by Colonel John May, of Boston, 
in his diary, is in some obscure way related 
to the word slops, and meant — judging from 
its relative position in sentences — what we 
now term a mackintosh. 

Slyders. The word slyder is given by 
Felt as a New Englandism for overalls. I 
have found it frequently so used in invento- 
ries of goods sent from England to Wynter 
at Richmond's Island in the years 1635 to 
1640, and spelt slyders and sliders. Boys' 
" camnas " sliders, as well as men's, were 
invoiced to him, and were worth five shil- 
lings a suit. We read in the account of a 
shipwreck on the Florida coast in the early 
colonial days, that the men were cast ashore 
in slyders. Slivers, or slivings, were loose 
slops also worn by sailors, but do not appear 
to have been overalls. 


Costume of Colonial Times 

Snail. See Lace. 

Snow-shoe. In the Suffolk County Rec- 
ords of the year 165 1 snow-shoes were named 
as part of Thomas Sautell's estate. One of 
the Winthrop letters, dated 1640, speaks of 
the Indians making the cords of their snow- 
shoes of silk grass. Josselyn, the traveller 
in New England, wrote in 1670, of " snow 
shooes made like a large Racket we play 
Tennis with." As late as 1748 they were 
called rackets. In 1704 it was enacted that 
the militia on the frontier be provided with 
snow-shoes, and all the colonists in outlying 
towns quickly learned to use them. At 
ordinations in Maine the visiting clergy 
often appeared on snow-shoes, and doctors 
visited their patients thus shod. Rev. 
Thomas Smith writes in his diary of a 
couple who came to him on snow-shoes to be 

Solitaire. "Bag wig, laced ruffles and 
black solitaire ' ' were the marks of a man 
of fashion in 1760. The neck decoration 
called a solitaire was introduced in France 
in the reign of Louis XV. It was a broad 

Costume of Colonial Times 

black ribbon worn loosely around the throat, 
apparently to protect partly the coat from 
the powdered wig. Often it was tied to the 
back of the wig and brought around and 
tucked in the shirt ruffle. This fashion im- 
mediately preceded the large white bow of 
lawn and lace that was worn by the Maca- 
ronis. It was in high fashion in America, 
and solitaire ribbons were advertised in 
many American newspapers, especially in 
the Southern States. 

Spatterdashes. In the Boston Evening 
Post of 1763 were advertised, " Thread and 
Cotton Spatterdashes." These were a cov- 
ering for the legs to protect trousers, stock- 
ings, etc., from mud and wear. They were 
part of a soldier's uniform. The modern 
word spats is therefrom derived. Spatter- 
dashes were also called copper-clouts, and 
sheen-steads, both English local names; 
and were also spelt spatterplashes. See 

Stamin. a heavy cloth like linsey-wool- 
sey, or taminy, q. v. 


Costume of Colonial Times 

Stammel. a woollen cloth, possibly 
called also stamin. It was like flannel and 
much used for petticoats ; and being red, 
the name also was applied to the color red. 
We read in Hakluyt's Voyages of " carsies 
of all orient colours especially stammel," 
and also of sending for stammel dyes. 

Startups. This word is found in New 
England inventories of men's attire. Thomas 
Johnson, of Weathersfield, Conn., had a 
" perre of startups " in 1640. They were a 
sort of buskin or half-boot, for common 
wear. In Thynne's Debate between Pride 
and Lowliness, a countryman wears these 
shoes, which are thus described : 

A payre of startuppes had he on his feete, 
That lased were up to the small of the legge ; 
Homelie they were, and easier than meete, 
And in their soles full many a wooden pegge. 

Stays. I do not know when " whale; 
bone prisons ' ' for women first were worn, 
but it is certain that many a pair crossed in 
the Mayflower and tight-lacing was known 
in the twelfth century. Stays appear in the 
early inventories of women's attire — ^as val- 


Costume of Colonial Times 

uable heirlooms. In 1679, upon a Salem 
tailor's bill is the item, " To altering & fit- 
ting a paire of stayes is 6d." Whalebone 
at that time was worth 2s. 6d. a pound. By 
newspaper days, as early as 17 14, we find ad- 
vertisements of very good silk stays, and 
later of stay-makers : 

This is to give notice to all Gentlewomen, Ladies 
& Other Persons who may have Occasion for New 
Stays that David Burnet from Great Britain who 
now lives near the Sign of the Ship upon the Stocks 
in Battery March, in Boston, makes all Sorts of Stays 
after the Newest Best Fashion, And also makes Stays 
for such as are Crooked or Deformed in their Bodies, 
so as to make them appear Strait, which was never 
before done in this Country. 

Stay-maker Burnet may be held responsible, 
for at least forty years, for Boston dames' 
wooden, flat figures which he trussed up in 
" turned stays, jumps and gazzets," and 
finally in caushets — which I suppose was the 
provincial way of spelling corsets. I have 
also seen the word ' ' coascetts " in a seven- 
teenth - century inventory. In New York 
and Philadelphia stays were made and sold. 
Women's stays and " custulls " are adver- 

Costume of Colonial Times 

tised in the Boston Evening Post vi\ 1761 ; 
but if David Burnet knew what custulls 
were, we do not, nor gazzets either. 

We also catch many a glimpse of the ma- 
terials of which stays were made. Thus, on 
January 12, 1767, Wilham Palfrey at the 
Heart and Crown had an " Assortment of 
Stay Trimming consisting of Fine & Coarse 
Yellow Holland, Galloun, Strapping braid 
& cord. White Sattinet, Stay Tick, Best 
White Watered Tabby, White and half Stif- 
fened Buckram, White Bellandine Sewing 

Good specimens of old-time stays can be 
seen in the cases of the Essex Institute and 
the Deerfield Memorial Hall — real iron-clads 
— with heavy busks and adamantine bones, 
and covered with stiff buckram. I have 
been told frequently of tin stays, but have 
never seen them. 

Stayhooks. These hooks were not to 
fasten stays, but were small and ornamental 
and to be stuck in the edge of the bodice to 
hang a watch or etui upon. The first offer 
of them for sale which I have seen is in the 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Boston Gazette in 1743. "Silver'd Stay- 
hooks," and "silver stayhooks with fine 
stones. ' ' In the Boston Independent Adver- 
tiser of August, 1749, appears this notice: 
' ' There was taken up Yesterday a Hook for 
a Womans Stays. The Person who lost it 
may have it by enquiring of the Printer." 
In 1762, on June 7, the Boston News 
Letter contained the advertisement of 
" Gold & Stone Sett Breast Hooks, Plain 
Stay hooks and Stone sett Ditto." These 
were pretty trinkets, and were in high fash- 
ion for many years. I have seen in old 
jewel-boxes several stay-hooks much resem- 
bling our modern chatelaines ; there are one 
or two preserved in the cases of the Essex 
Institute. Since they were more frequently 
of silver or hard metal than of gold, many 
have perished with the century. 

Stirrup-hose. See Hose. 

Stivers. Edward Skinner, who died in 
1 64 1, named in his will " i Payr fustian 
Stivers and i Payr leathern Stivers." 

Stock. See Neckstock. 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Stockings. See Hose. 

Stomacher. Bishop Earle wrote thus of 
Puritan garb and "she precise hypocrites" 
in 1628 : "A nonconformist in a close stom- 
acher and ruff of Geneva print, and her pu- 
rity consists much in her linen. ' ' A stom- 
acher is sufficiently defined through its 
evident derivation — a band or ornamental 
girdle worn over the stomach. They have 
been in fashion at varying intervals until the 
present day^ and have been made of many 
and varying materials — folded silk, orris, 
leather, silvered gimps, beads, spangles, and, 
as shown in the Boston Evening Post of 
November, 1755, of "Bugle and Paste- 
board." In the Pennsylvania Gazette of 
July 24, 1760, we read of " gauze and bugle 
stomachers with floss flowers. ' ' A writer in 
the Weekly Rehearsal Qi Izmiaxy 10, 1732, 
complains of the variation in the fashions of 
stomachers, saying, "sometimes it Rises to 
the Chin, and a Modesty-Piece suffers the 
purpose of a Ruff, again it is so Complaisant 
as not to reach Half- Way. ' ' Abigail Adams, 
writing to Mrs. Storer, in 1785, says she en- 

Costume of Colonial Times 

closes " patterns of a stomacher, cape and 
forebody of a gown ; different petticoats are 
much worn, and then the stomacher must be 
of petticoat color. ' ' 

Strip. An ornamental portion of dress 
apparently solely for women's wear, and 
used to cover the neck or breast. We read 
in Penelope and Ulysses, 1658, 

A stomacher upon her breast so bare, 

For strips and gorget were not then the weare. 

Among the rich possessions of one Richard 
Lusthead, of Mattapinian, Va., in 1664, we 
find "9 laced stripps, 2 plain stripps." 
They were evidently an elegant piece of 

Surd AN. In the Boston Gazette and 
Country Journal of June 13, 1774, a runa- 
way slave was advertised as wearing a " blue 
Surdan," which was apparently a jacket or 

SuRTOUT. A great-coat for men's wear, 
or an outside sleeved jacket for women's 
wear. We read in the Boston Gazette of 

Costume of Colonial Times 

February 6, 1769, that there was lost " Last 
Monday Ev. two very good plain & Knapt 
Bath Beaver Surtouts of a light mixt Colour 
one very large the other suitable for a Boy 
of 12 years." In letters of that same date 
we read of travelling mantua-makers coming 
to make cloth surtouts for all the daughters 
in the family. 

Swanskin. Fairholt says swanskin was 
a thick fleecy hosiery. But from early days 
we read in American newspapers of runa- 
ways in swanskin jackets, and also of " Ell- 
wide Swanskin for Ironing cloth," which 
would seem to point to its being a cheap 
fleecy cloth like Canton flannel. 

Tabaret. This advertisement from the 
Boston Gazette of 1749 somewhat defines 
this material : " Worsted Tabaritts the new- 
est fashion. In Imitation of a rich Brocaded 
Silk." It was a sort of poplin, and was 
much used for petticoats, and later, of 
slightly heavier make, for upholstering pur- 
poses. Tabbinet was a similar material with 
a watered surface. 


Costume of Colonial Times 

Tabby. A plain soft silk. It was ad- 
vertised for sale in the Boston News Letter 
as early as October, 171 1, and was a favorite 
material for women's wear. It varied much 
in value. A petticoat of tabby was worth, 
in 1660, ;£2 los. We read under date 
1676 of " I Pair Tabby Bodyes cloath col- 
our' d yi, wide & long wastied." Within a 
hundred years the name has been applied to 
watered silks. We find Peter Faneuil's sis- 
ter sending word to England to have an old 
gown dyed and "watered like a tabby." 
See ToBiNE and Tabaret. 

Taffeta. This was not originally our 
modern plain silk called by the name, but 
was in Chaucer's day a heavier, costlier silk. 
Ann Hibbin's taffety cloak was, from its 
value — _^2 I OS. — of rich quality. The 
name was also applied to thin linen. 

Taminy. a woollen stuff glazed like 
alpaca, made in Norfolk. It was spelt 
also tammin, tammy, tamin, etaminee, and 
estaraine. I learn from the accounts of 
John Pyncheon, of Springfield, in 1653, 

Costume of Colonial Times 

that " red Tammy " was worth at that date 
2S. lod. per yard. Martha Emmons, who 
died in Boston in 1666, owned a red tam- 
miny petticoat ; one of her neighbors had a 
" taminy wast cote." I find tammy and 
taminy advertised in Connecticut newspa- 
pers as late as 1775. The "mixt Esta- 
mains " worth eighteen shillings a yard, that 
were sent to Deliverance Parkeman, in Bos- 
ton, in 1703, were also taminys. 

Tewly. See Tulv. 

Therese. a large veil or scarf worn as 
a head-dress, usually of a light, thin material, 
such as gauze or mull. Thereses were worn 
toward the close of the seventeenth century, 
and are named in the lists of New England 

Thumb Ring. See Ring. 

Tiffany. A thin gauzy silk. Tiffany 
hoods were forbidden to folk of modest for- 
tune by the early sumptuary laws of Massa- 
chusetts, so must have been deemed rich 
wear. Tiffany was firequently advertised in 


Costume of Colonial Times 

Boston newspapers; in 1739, in the News 
Letter, and spelt "Tifyiiy;" in 1 741, in 
the New England Weekly Journal, and spelt. 
"Tiffeny." It appears so frequently with 
crapes and cypress, that I think black tif- 
fany must have been much used in mourn- 
ing wear, indeed almost appropriated to that 

Tippet. A narrow covering for the neck. 
In 1763, November 6, in the Boston Even- 
ing Post, Jolley Allen advertised " Meck- 
lenburg Tippets for Women & Children ; ' ' 
and on January 11, 1767, he had "very 
Gentell Tippets Silver' d at 22s 6d." Gauze 
tippets were advertised also. William Pal- 
frey had blue and silver, and white and sil- 
ver tippets. Rattlesnake tippets were of fine 
blonde stuck with flowers. All these were 
ornamental additions to the toilet ; but in 
the winter tippets of various kinds of furs 
were worn for warmth. The Weekly Re- 
hearsal of January 10, 1732, comments on 
the tippet as " an elegant and beautiful Or- 
nament ; in Winter the Sable is Wonderful 
Graceful & a fine Help to the Complexion." 

Costume of Colonial Times 

ToBiNE. A heavy silk material much 
used for rich gowns and sacques. In 1742 
the Boston News Letter advertised "Silk 
of Sundry Sorts as Rich Tobine. ' ' Striped 
and flowered tobins were named, and ' ' To- 
bine Lustrings at 9 sh sterling a yard," and 
" Rich tobine and Tissue for men & womens 
wear chiefly gowns and sacks." For men's 
wear it was used in waistcoats — the striped 
seeming to be the favorite. It was akin in 
quality to tabby, q. v. 

Tongs. Loose trousers or overalls of 
linen or cotton stuff. In Margaret, by 
Sylvester Judd, we read, " The boys were 
dressed in tongs, a name for pantaloons or 
overalls that had come into use." The 
word was not in common use at the time of 
the Revolution. 

Trollopee. a loose gown like a neg- 
ligee, worn during the last half of the eigh- 
teenth century. 

Trousers. The first hint of anything 
like the use of the word or article trousers, 
appears in the items of consignments to John 


Costume of Colonial Times 

Wynter, of Richmond's Island, Me., in 1638. 
" 7 pair of trushes £^\ is." The word fre- 
quently appears in his later accounts and 
is always thus spelled. These "trushes" 
were probably tow overalls for the use of 
Wynter's iishermen, though slyders, which 
were overalls, were also named. Trouses, 
trossers, trews, and trusses were other early 
forms of the word. Through newspaper 
items we learn of runaway slaves wearing off 
" chequer' d," tow», or ozenbridge trousers, 
sometimes over their breeches. One was 
advertised in the Weekly Rehearsal of Sep- 
tember, 1733, as wearing " Cinnamon col- 
ourd Plush breeches with Trousers over 
them." Another in the Boston Gazette of 
May 27, 177 1, is said to have run ofif in 
"Buckskin breeches and white trousers." 
It seems evident that the word was at first 
applied to a garment of the nature of over- 
alls. A contemporary writer thus describes 
them: "linen drawer trousers which are 
breeches and stockins all in one and fine 
cool Wear." One servant who ran off in 
knee-breeches was " reported to have been 
seen later with Frock and Trowsers on." 

Costume of Colonial Times 

These tow trousers were also called tongs. 
Sailors wore trousers. The portrait of Teach, 
the pirate (called Blackbeard), shows him in 
trousers. The date of portrait is about 
1734. Trousers did not come into general 
wear till after Revolutionary times ; in fact, 
not till this century. The first mention I 
have seen of woollen trousers was dated 1 776. 
See Tongs, Slyders, Skilts. 

TuFFTAFFETA. This stuff was a taffeta 
with velvet or plush tufts of nap or raised 
pile. I have never found any tufftaffeta 
garments named save in New England in- 
ventories, and then only jerkins and doub- 
lets for men — no women's wear. 

TuLY. Also tewly. A color — red. ' ' To 
make bockerum tuly — a manner of red col- 
our, as it were of crop madder." I read ot 
tuly waistcoats in New England. 

Turban. In 1763 " Silk and Tinsel 
Turbins " were advertised in the Boston 
Evening Post, as early an advertisement as I 
have noted of turbans. In 1767 the Con- 
necticut Courant advertised a box containing 

Costume of Colonial Times 

a"turbant and tippets." Silvered gauze 
turbans were very fashionable and were fre- 
quently trimmed with feathers. Until well 
into this century women wore and had their 
portraits painted in turbans, which, when 
made of rich materials, were a truly impos- 
ing headgear. 

Though I have never seen turbans adver- 
tised for men's wear, there are many por- 
traits in existence of masculine New Eng- 
landers wearing turbans, or a headgear 
closely resembling the feminine turban. The 
portrait of Edward Bromfield, and those of 
Thomas Boylston, Thomas Hubbard, and 
Master John Lovell in Memorial Hall in 
Cambridge, all display caps much like tur- 

Umbrella. Though umbrellas are men- 
tioned in Quarles's Emblems (which was 
printed in England in 1635) and by various 
English authors after the year 1700, they 
were not used in the colonies till after the 
middle of the century. In the year 1 740 
a belle in Windsor, Conn., carried an um- 
brella which had been brought to her with 

Costume of Colonial Times 

other elegancies for the toilet from the West 
Indies. Her neighbors mocked her by 
carrying sieves balanced on broom-handles. 
By 1762 they were advertised in Boston 
papers by all enterprising and modish milli- 
ners, and by other tradespeople. 

Among the earliest special advertisements 
of umbrellas is this from the Boston Evening 
Post, June 6, 1768 : 

Umbrilloes made and sold by Isaac Greenwood ; 
Turner, in his shop in Front Street at the following 
Prices. Neat mahogany frames tipt with Ivory or 
brass ferrils 42s 6d plain ; others at 40s ; printed at 
36s ; neat Persian Umbrellas compleat at 6 los 
and in proportion for better silk. Those Ladies 
whose Ingenuity Leisure and Oeconomy leads them 
to make their own may have them cut out by buying 
Umbrella sticks or Forms of him ; and those Ladies 
that are better employed may have them made at 
15s a piece. N. B. All the above Prices are in O. 

Oliver Greenleaf likewise advertised in the 
same paper the same year, on May 23d, 
"very neat Green and Blue Umbrellas." 
Another Boston man, " Unmade Setts of 
Sticks for Umbrilloes for those who wish to 
cover them themselves." 

Costume of Colonial Times 

The early spelling was usually " umbril- 
loe" and "umberaloe." The shape, can 
we judge from the newspaper wood-cut, was 
very flat, with few ribs. The old umbrellas 
seen in museums are very heavy of frame 
and very large. 

Vampay. Sometimes spelled vamp, or 
vampay. A short woollen hose, or stocking, 
reaching only to the ankles. One adver- 
tisement of a runaway servant described him 
as wearing knit vamps. Another wore knit 
boots over his hose, which boots were prob- 
ably vamps. 

Veil. These shields for the face were 
worn by Puritan women, and were enjoined 
by Roger Williams. But Minister Cotton 
proved that such wearing was not com- 
manded by the apostles, and veils were dis- 
carded by Salem and Boston dames in 1634 
—so runs the tale.. 

Vest. In Pepys's time the word vest 
meant " a long cassock close to the body," 
which was not necessarily a sleeveless gar- 

Costume of Colonial Times 

ment like a waistcoat. It seems curious 
while I have never seen the word vest used 
in New England, either in print or manu- 
script, until the middle of this century, that 
it was constantly used in Pennsylvania in 
the previous century. From the newspa- 
pers alone innumerable examples can be 
given. In the Pennsylvania Gazette of 
May, 1752, we read of runaways wearing 
off stocking-wove vests, with coats, show- 
ing that these vests were waistcoats. In the 
same publication, under date of January 13, 
1729, another runaway wore a corded dim- 
ity vest flowered with yellow silk ; and on 
June 30, 1736, one wore a cinnamon vest- 
coat, which sounds like a Tony Waller pro- 
nunciation. See Waistcoat. 

Vizard. See Mask. 

Wadmol. Originally weadmel, a coarse 
heavy stuff made of Iceland wool, and 
brought from Iceland to Suffolk and Nor- 
folk, England. It came to mean a very 
coarse, felted woollen stuff. We read of 
" wadmoll mittens," of " a woadmell petti- 


Costume of Colonial Times 

coat." The name does not appear later 
than the year 1700. And I have never seen 
it in inventories of the Southern colonies. 

Waistcoat. A term used in early days, 
as now, for an undergarment reaching from 
the neck to the waist, and usually sleeve- 
less. In 1628 each Bay emigrant had two 
' ' wascotes of greene cotton bound about 
with Red tape. ' ' The Piscataquay planters 
had red waistcoats supplied to them. Wom- 
en and men both wore them and left them 
by will. Edward Skinner, in 1641, in Bos- 
ton, and Martha Emmons, in 1664, had 
"wastcotts." Jane Humphrey had them 
in variety of kersey, serge, and fustian — 
green, white, gray, blue, and " murry col- 
lured." It took " 4 yardes and halfe a quar- 
ter of tuft Holland ' ' to make Lawyer Lech- 
ford's wife a waistcoat, which is much more 
than would be necessary for a simply shaped 
waistcoat nowadays. Widow Oxenbridge, 
of Boston, had white dimity waistcoats. In 
1 72 1 knit " westcots " were advertised in 
the Boston News Letter; in 1767 "Damas- 
cus Lorettos & Burdets for fine westcoats," 


Costume of Colonial Times 

and " fine Rich Pink colour'd Vellure Silk 
for waistcoats" were also sold. "Knit 
Maccorini waistcoats ' ' and waistcoat pat- 
terns also appear in the list, among the lat- 
ter " the Sportmans fancy, the Prince of 
Wales Newmarket Jockey, the Modest pale- 
blue. ' ' In the early part of the eighteenth 
century the waistcoat became an important 
article of attire, being very long, as dis- 
played in the portraits of the founder of 
Yale College, of Sir William Pepperell, Sir 
William Phips, and other gentlemen of their 
day. It was low in the neck, however, 
showing the cravat all around the neck ; it 
was richly embroidered or trimmed with 
great gold or silver buttons and laces. Sir 
Charles Frankland said in 1763 that seven 
yards of gold lace were needed to trim a 

Watchet Blue. 

"The saphir stone is of watchet blue.'' 

In the early colonial days this word oc- 
curs, though rarely. It was defined in old- 
time words, " celustro, azure, watchet, or 
skie-color. ' ' 


Costume of Colonial Times 

Weather-skirt. See Safeguard. 

Whisk. A neckerchief for women's wear, 
which was plain or laced, and fell on the 
shoulders ; hence also called a falling-whisk. 
It was apparently formed at first simply by 
turning the ruff down. We find Madam 
Pepys buying a white whisk in 1660, and 
later a " noble lace whisk." 

A whisk was not common or cheap neck- 
wear. The same year that Madam Pepys 
wore her whisk to court. Governor Berke- 
ley, of Virginia, paid half a pound apiece 
for " Tiffeny Whisks." I think they were 
a cavalier elegance, for I have never seen 
the name in use but once in New England. 
Wait Winthrop, in 1682, sent a whisk to his 
niece Mary. 

Whitney. A heavy and rather coarse 
cloth in universal use in the eighteenth cen- 
tury. To show its value, let me state that 
Peter Faneuil ordered from London in 1737 
"Fine Whitneye at 533 a yard. Coarse 
Whitneye at 28s a yard." Its color was 
commonly scarlet. It was used for coats, 

Costume of Colonial Times 

jackets, petticoats, breeches, and extensively 
for cloaks. It was also spelled Witney. 

Whittle. This was a double blanket 
worn by West country women over the 
shoulders hke a cloak. The word was de- 
rived from the Anglo-Saxon hwttel, and is 
found in Piers Plowttian. In 1655 Mary 
Harris, of New London, left a " rred whit- 
tle ' ' by will, and Jane Humphreys, of Dor- 
chester, had, in 1668, "a whittle that was 
fringed." A whittle was apparently much 
like a shawl. The name became obsolete 
in the eighteenth century in America, but 
was frequently used in England till a much 
later date — in fact, may still be heard. 

WiLDBORE. We read of " Marone Ribb'd 
Wildbores " in the Salem Gazetie oi 1784, 
and the name appears frequently elsewhere, 
until this century. Wildbore was appar- 
ently a heavy repped woollen goods, and was 
much used for women's winter gowns. 

Wig. From a very early date wigs were 
in fashion in the colonies. As early as 1675 


Costume of Colonial Times 

the legislature of Massachusetts felt it neces- 
sary to denounce wig - wearing. But the 
question of the propriety of donning wigs 
was a difficult one to settle, since the min- 
isters and magistrates themselves could not 
agree. John Wilson and Cotton Mather 
wore them, but Rev. Mr. Noyes launched 
denunciations at them from the pqlpit, and 
the Apostle John Eliot dehvered many a 
blast against "prolix locks with boiling 
zeal," but yielded sadly to the fact that the 
" lust for wigs is become insuperable." 

Wigs were termed by one author " arti- 
ficial deformed Maypowles fit to furnish her 
that in a Stage play should represent some 
Hagge of Hell;" by another, "Horrid 
Bushes of Vanity; " and other choice epi- 
thets were applied. 

Governor Barefoot, of New Hampshire, 
wore a periwig as early as 1670 ; only 
seven years after Pepys first donned one. 

In 1676 Wait Winthrop wrote to his 
brother in New London : 

I send herewith the best wig that is to be had in 
ye countrye. Mr. Sergeant brought it from Eng- 
land for his own use and says it cost him two guin- 


Costume of Colonial Times 

eyes and six shillings, and that he- never wore it 
six howers. He tells me will have three pounds 
for it. 

The Winthrops frequently ordered wigs, 
and their portraits display some full-blown 

By 1 716 the fashion of wearing wigs had 
become universal; though in 1722 at a 
meeting at Hampton a remnant of sturdy 
Puritans passed a resolution that ' ' ye wear- 
ing of extrevegant superflues wigges is alto- 
gether contrary to truth." In 1730 the 
Assembly of New York placed a tax of 
three shillings on every wig or peruke of 
human or horsehair mixed, and even Penn- 
sylvania Quakers cut their own hair and 
wore wigs. When I read of these wig-wear- 
ing times, and of the grotesque and mounte- 
bank wigs that were worn, I wonder afresh 
at the manner in which our sensible ances- 
tors disfigured themselves. 

In the Boston News Letter of August 14, 
1729, we read : 

Taken from the shop of Powers Mariott Barber, a 
light Flaxen Naturall Wigg Parted from the forehead 
to the Crown. The Narrow Ribband is of a Red 


Costume of Colonial Times 

Pink Colour. The Caul is in Rows of Red Green 
& White. 

Grafton Fevergrure, the peruke-maker at the 
sign of the Black Wigg, lost a " Light 
Flaxen Natural Wigg with a Peach Blossom- 
coloured Ribband." In 1755 the house of 
barber Goes of Marblehead was broken into 
and eight brown and three grizzle wigs stol- 
en; some of these must have been absurd 
enough, with "feathered tops," some were 
bordered with red ribbon, some with three 
colors, pink, green, and purple. In 1754 
James Mitchell had white wigs and "griz- 
zles." He asked 20s. O. T. for the best. 
We read of the loss of " a horsehair bob- 
wig," and another with crown hair, and a 
goat's hair natural wig with red and white 
ribbons. Wigs were also made of "calves 
tails," and the Virginia Gazette sAYtxtised, 
in 1752, "Mohair stain' d " for wigs. 
Thread and silk were also used. 
Hawthorne gave this list of wigs : 
The tie, the brigadier, the spencer, the 
albemarle, the major, the ramillies, the grave 
full -bottom, and the giddy feather-top. 
To these we can add the campaign, the 

Costume of Colonial Times 

neck-lock, the bob, the minor bob, the bob 
major, the lavant, the vallaney, the drop- 
wig, the buckle-wig, the Grecian fly, tlie 
peruke, the beau-peruke, the long-tail, the 
bob-tail, the fox-tail, the cut-wig, the tuck- 
wig, the twist wig, the scratch, the maca- 
roni toupee. Sydney says the name cam- 
paign was applied to a wig the fashion of 
which was imported from France in 1702. 
This date cannot be correct, for we find 
John Winthrop writing in 1695 for "two 
wiggs one a campane, the other short. ' ' A 
campaign wig was made very full, and curled 
eighteen inches to the front. It had " knots 
or bobs a-dildo on each side with a curled 
forehead." The portrait of John Winthrop 
displays an enormous wig, perhaps this very 
" campane." 

The Ramillies wig had a long plaited tail, 
with a big bow at the top of the braid and 
a smaller one at the bottom. 

Wigs were of varied shapes. They swelled 
at the sides, and turned under in great rolls, 
and rose in many puffs, and hung in braids 
or curls or clubbed tails, and then shrank to 
a small close tie-wig that vanished at Revo- 

Costume of Colonial Times 

lutionary times in powdered natural hair 
and a queue of ribbon, a bag, or an eel- 

From the portraits of the day — those of 
Copley, Smibert, Blackburn, and Gilbert 
Stuart, and also of earlier artists — displayed 
in Harvard Memorial Hall, in the Library 
of the American Antiquarian Society, in the 
rooms of the various historical societies, a 
very correct sequence of wig fashions can 
be obtained, and dates assigned to certain 
shapes. The portraits of Virginians show 
some specially handsome wigs. 

All classes wore wigs. Many a runaway 
slave is described as wearing off a " white 
horsehair wigg," a "flaxen natural wigg," 
or a " full goatshair wigg." A soldier de- 
serter in 1707 wore off a "yellowish peri- 
wig," and as a specially absurd instance of 
servile imitation, I read in the Massachii- 
setts Gazette of July 11, 1774, of a negro 
who " wore off a curl of hair tied on a 
string around his head to imitate a scratch 
wig." Just picture that woolly pate with its 
dangling curl ! 

The account books of Enoch Freeman, of 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Portland, Me., contain in 1754 such entries 
as this : 

Shaving my three sons at sundry times ;^5. 14s. 
Expense for James Wig -^q. 

Expense for Samuels Wig. ^9. 

Tlie three sons were Samuel, aged eleven, 
James, aged nine, and William, aged seven. 
Imagine any father in a small town being 
such a slave of fashion as to have the heads 
of little sons shaved and bedecking them 
with such costly wigs. 

At the beginning of this century women, 
having powdered and greased and pulled 
their hair almost off their heads, were glad 
to wear wigs. At first " tetes " of curled 
hair were donned, as early as 1752; then 
came "locks." We find Eliza Southgate 
Bowne when a young girl writing thus to 
her mother from Boston in the year 1800. 

Now Mamma what do you think I am going to 
ask for ? — A WIG. Eleanor Coffin has got a new 
one just like my hair and only 5 dollars. I must 
either cut my hair or have one. I cannot dress it at 
all stylish. ... At the Assembly I was quite 
ashamed of my head, for nobody had long hair. 

Costume of Colonial Times 

Wigs were bequeathed by will. Robert 
Richbell, of Boston, left eight by bequest ; 
so also did rich Philadelphians. The cost 
of dressing and caring for wigs became a 
heavy item of expense to the wearer, and in- 
come to the barber; often eight or ten 
pounds a year were paid for the care of a 
single wig. Governor Hutchinson had a 
formidable annual barber's bill. Wig- mak- 
er's materials were expensive also — "wig 
ribans, cauls, curling pipes, sprigg wyers, 
and wigg steels," and were advertised in 
vast numbers. 


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